Updated: Friday, 24th November 2017 @ 8:08am

Riding a bike for a living? Four-time Olympic gold medalist Sir Chris Hoy made a risky choice, claims his mum

Riding a bike for a living? Four-time Olympic gold medalist Sir Chris Hoy made a risky choice, claims his mum

By Sacha Clayton

Sir Chris Hoy lies just one gold medal behind Sir Steve Redgrave as Great Britain's greatest ever Olympian but his mother Carol admits she had her doubts over his choice of cycling as a profession.

The 36-year-old has four Olympic gold medals to his name, as well as a silver won 12 years ago in Sydney, and could add to that tally with potentially three events in London this summer.

But having convinced Sir Chris to concentrate on a university degree before focusing on cycling, Carol revealed that she did not expect his interest in the sport to still be as strong three decades after he started on two wheels.

"Chris was brought up to work hard at school; that was very important, to get a good education," said Carol, speaking at the P&G Thank You Mum campaign that coincided with 100 days to go to the London 2012 Olympic Games.

"When he said he wanted to continue with cycling and he was at university I said ‘fine, but university is the priority. Once you've done that, it's up to you.' Secretly I was thinking, ‘hmm, you've got a really good degree and he wants to ride a bike...'

"Did I say that to Chris? No. I think in my heart I thought he'll get fed up with that in a couple of months. I'm really glad I didn't say it to him and I'm sure he'll never listen to this and hear what I'm saying, but I'm incredibly proud of what he's done."

Four years ago at the Beijing Games in 2008 Sir Chris, who is a P&G ambassador, became the most successful male cyclist at the Olympics when he claimed gold in the individual sprint, team sprint and keirin.

And his mum revealed that his journey to Olympic success had actually begun on a girl's bike long before he moved on to the state-of-the-art aerodynamic ones he rides today.


CAROL HOY: Mum reveals Sir Chris started riding career on girl's bike

She added: "His first ever bike was a girl’s bike, handed over by a neighbour. I don't think he realised it was a girl’s bike at the time. He managed to break that very quickly which perhaps meant he'd like a new one.

"He got his first BMX, maybe he'd have been about eight or nine? I thought he was going to cry with happiness when we took him to the shop, he was so excited, thrilled. We had great fun watching Chris race.

"When he won silver in Sydney, I thought I was going to burst with pride. Then he went to Athens and won gold, I thought it can't get better than this then in Beijing he gets three.

"Those are very, very proud moments, but then I was proud of him when he won the egg and spoon race when he was a wee boy as well. So I'm just a boring mum who loves her kids."

Watch Carol Hoy's story at below – the film is part of a series called Raising an Olympian from P&G, looking at what it is like to raise a world class athlete, through the eyes of their mums.