Manchester-based cyclist Sir Chris Hoy ‘honoured’ to carry flag at London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony

By Mancunian Matters sports staff

Manchester-based cyclist Sir Chris Hoy will lead out Great Britain’s biggest ever Olympics team at the London 2012 opening ceremony after he was announced as flag bearer today.

The 36-year-old will carry the flag for the second consecutive Games after he was awarded the honour at Beijing’s closing ceremony in 2008.

Hoy, who has four Olympic golds, including three in China, will be attending his first ever opening ceremony and won the most votes from the 542 athletes that make up Team GB, and will be the first from his sport to carry the flag.

“I’m absolutely delighted and honoured to have been voted as the flag bearer for Team GB.

“To lead out your team at a home Olympics is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity and one that that I can’t wait to experience in just a few days time.”

Being chosen as flag bearer will come as some consolation to Hoy after it was announced that he would not be defending his individual sprint gold, with teammate Jason Kenny given the nod ahead of him.

However, Hoy, who was knighted after his Beijing exploits, will still take part in the team sprint and the Keirin.

The selection of Hoy as flag bearer is another boost to cycling after Bradley Wiggins became the first British cyclist to win the Tour de France.

Alison Williamson, an archer competing at her sixth Olympics, also received support, but the honour will instead fall to the Edinburg-born racer, who will make the trip from cycling’s training base in Wales for the event.

However, sailor Ben Ainslie and swimmer Rebecca Adlington were not considered for the honour as they will not be able to attend the opening ceremony due to competition scheduling.

Andy Hunt, chef de mission, said: “Team GB could not have placed the flag in better hands.

“It is a great honour for Sir Chris and the team will be proud to march behind him. He is a fantastic ambassador for his sport and his country.”

These are heady days for British cycling and Hoy’s recognition is more good news for the sport, according to president Brian Cookson, who like Hoy carried the Olympic torch a few weeks ago.

“To be selected as a flag bearer at any Olympic Games is a great honour but to be selected for the home Games is an extra special achievement and I’d like to personally congratulate Sir Chris,” he said.

“Chris has been an outstanding ambassador to the sport of cycling throughout his extensive career, and we’re proud that he is a fellow member of British Cycling. To have Chris carry the flag on behalf of Great Britain is another milestone in the success of cycling in Britain.”

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