Athlete's Village, Beijing

I am physically and mentally drained.

The main emotion this morning is less exhilaration and more a mix of relief and exhaustion.

For the first time in months and months I'll be able to walk up a flight of stairs without worrying whether my legs feel tired.

To finally get it all finished is a wonderful feeling. For five days I've been battling to keep my head above water.

I can pinpoint times in the last four years when I've gone through real suffering.

Certain sessions I've done have been simply horrendous. The only thing that gets you through is the thought of the Olympics and the gold medal.


Out here I would visualise those sessions and remind myself of everything I've gone through.

If I'd even missed one session, I would have lined up with doubt and fear in my mind. What would happen if I lost the gold by one thousandth of a second, because there was a training session I skipped or didn't give my all to?

Instead, I lined up here knowing no-one had trained harder than me, and that gave me enormous confidence.

It's a really strange feeling today. Every day for as long as I can remember I've woken up thinking about nothing else but the Olympics. It feels so weird telling myself that I don't have to any more.

I should be able to switch off, now it's all down, but of course I can't. The habits are too ingrained.

I've got the three gold medals next to me now.


They come in a presentation box, but I'm still waiting for the ones from the keirin and sprint so they're all together in one at the moment.

You also get a spare ribbon for each medal, which as it turns out is quite handy.

The top of the medals is quite a sharp edge, and the ribbon is getting frayed already, even though I've barely started wearing them.

While the competition is underway, you don't let yourself imagine how it would feel to win gold. You're so focused on each individual race, because otherwise there's no way of getting through it.

Our team compare it to running the hurdles - you have to take one at a time.

It makes it all the sweeter when it finally comes together. When I crossed the line for the final time in the sprint it just all came out.

In the velodrome, we battered the other teams into submission. You could see their morale was completely dented by the first few days.

I was almost surprised at how badly some of them performed. Some of them didn't even reach the levels they had at the World Championships in March.

That couldn't be a physical thing, because you'd aim to peak for the Olympics. I think it was mental.

The lower your morale, the more you feel the pain. And when they saw how our team was riding, everyone else just started to crack.

The emotional side of it is almost tougher than the physical part.

Before each race you think about what you're going to do, your plan and execution. Then you have the race itself, and afterwards the examination of what you did and how you might improve, and how you should plan for the next one.

That absolutely drains you.

To be honest what's happened out here hasn't really sunk in. I think it'll only be when I get back home and get the chance to relax and reflect that I'll appreciate what we've done.

Last night I went out with the team pursuit team, Vicky Pendleton and my girlfriend for a few beers, but it wasn't a big night.

We were just too tired - Jason Kenny didn't even make it out - but tonight will be a bigger night, and the one after that bigger still.

I'm so looking forward to going home and being able to do normal things - to be able to see friends, to have a beer without worrying about it.

I'm going to take a big break now before I decide what to do next.

I've got a holiday booked in November, and I won't start discussing the future until then.

For now, I'm just going to enjoy what's happened here in Beijing. It's an unbelievable feeling to achieve the absolute maximum you possibly can.

Chris Hoy was speaking to BBC Sport's Tom Fordyce

Chris Hoy is a British track cyclist with four Olympic gold medals to his name. Our FAQs should answer any questions you have.


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