Raise Your Game: Take us back to the moment you won the Olympic Gold in Athens - the three riders starting in front of you had each broken the Olympic Record for the kilo, so you knew you had to go even faster in order to win the gold, how did you stay focused? Were you intimidated by the challenge?
Kilometre time trial and team sprint
- Received knighthood 2009
- UK BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2008
- 2008 - 3 golds, team sprint, keirin & sprint
- 2004 - Gold, 1km time trial
- 2000 - Silver, team sprint
- 2006 - Gold, team sprint; Bronze, 1km time trial
- 2002 - Gold, 1km time trial; Bronze, team sprint
- 2007 - Gold, 1km time trial; Gold, men's keirin; Silver, team sprint
- 2006 - Gold, 1km time trial; Silver, team sprint
- 2005 - Gold, team sprint; Bronze, 1km time trial
- 2004 - Gold, 1km time trial; Bronze, team sprint
- 2003 - Bronze, team sprint
- 2002 - Gold, 1km time trial; Gold, team sprint
- 2001 - Bronze, team sprint
Chris Hoy: It was the biggest challenge of my life so far; not only physically but mentally too, being able to focus in that situation wasn't easy. I worked closely with Steve Peters, the British Cycling team's psychologist, and we came up with a strategy of dealing with the pressure. It basically involved displacing the negative thoughts with visualisation. Not a complicated technique, but very effective if done properly. I just kept running through the race in my head over and over so that I wouldn't let the distractions around me put me off.
RYG: At least four years of preparation goes into an event that barely lasts one minute - how do you ensure that absolutely everything goes correctly when it matters?
CH: It's just all about preparation. Making sure your body and your bike are ready for the challenge really gives you confidence. A lot of it comes with years of experience in the event; through trial and error you work out the best way to get yourself in the right shape in time for the big event. Even when you feel as though everything is 100% it can still go wrong on the night (like in Melbourne!) so you never know for sure that you're going to do the performance you expect.
RYG: The kilo is an individual event, but do you still have a team supporting you? How important is that support?
CH: The support is absolutely crucial. If you have the right people helping you in the lead up to a major event, then you know when you're lining up to start the race you have them there with you, willing you on. And I'm not only referring to the coaches, mechanics, physios, administrators, but also family and friends.
RYG: Your other event is the team sprint. What are the differences between riding as an individual and as part of a team?
CH: When you're on your own you have control over most of the variables involved in the preparation and the race itself, whilst in a team event you are only a part of the overall picture. This can be both good and bad; it's good because the pressure is evenly spread on the whole team's shoulders, but if you're the one who happens to be the weak link, it can feel awful to let the guys down. The real upside of being part of a team is the fact that when you're successful in a race you can share the celebrations together.
RYG: You train for up to six hours a day, how do you stay motivated?
CH: Training can be monotonous, and it is hard work, but you never lose sight of why you are doing it. Every single effort of every single session counts in the months and years leading up to a big event. If you go to the line knowing you have given it absolutely 100% in every training session you have done, you know that there's nothing else you could have done and that helps you to deal with the pressure.
RYG: Do you use music to inspire you and fire you up whilst training? What do you listen to?
CH: I don't tend to listen to music in training, except maybe the radio in the gym. I do use music prior to racing though; it helps to fire me up plus it's good for blocking out the distractions around me. I just stick my headphones on and try to get my mind in the right state to get the best out of myself. I listen to a variety of stuff on my iPod: Chemical Brothers, Prodigy, Public Enemy, Foo Fighters, anything that gets my adrenalin flowing.
To be successful it's very, very tough, but if you've got the right attitude it's very, very possible.
Former Leeds United and Leicester City midfielder
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