The six-time gold medallist acknowledged that his body was telling him he was still "good but not good enough."
Six-time gold medallist Chris Hoy retired from cycling Thursday, saying he had expended “every last ounce of effort and energy” in becoming Britain’s most decorated Olympian and spearheading the country’s rise to the top of the sport.
“I feel I like have got every last ounce of effort and energy out of myself,” the 37-year-old Hoy said at a news conference in Edinburgh. “I wouldn’t want to turn up there as a shadow of my former self.”
Along with Tour de France champion and seven-time Olympic medallist Bradley Wiggins, Hoy helped turn cycling from a minority sport in Britain to one of its most popular pursuits.
“Chris is an icon and he has earned a revered place among our nation’s greatest sporting heroes,” British Olympic Association chairman Sebastian Coe said.
“To win on that day, and the nature I did, was a pretty special moment,” said Hoy, who acknowledged that his body was telling him he was still “good but not good enough.”
“I think it just dawned on me over time that I am satisfied, happy, content. There is no lingering doubt. I know I have done everything I can and it would be a mistake to go on.”
By winning the team sprint, keirin and sprint at the 2008 Games, he became the first Briton in 100 years to win three gold medals at one Olympics. He overcame a career-threatening hip injury in 2009 and held off the growing threat of teammate Jason Kenny to star in London in 2012.
“What he’s done for cycling for this country has been bigger than anybody can even put into words,” British cyclist Mark Cavendish said.
Australia’s Olympic women’s sprint champion Anna Meares added on Twitter- “An icon, a legend, a real life good guy.”
Instead of racing for Scotland in Glasgow next year, Hoy will be there as a mentor to up-and-coming riders.
“Just to see the legacy, not just for myself but for the whole of the sport to see what we have achieved as a sport over the last 10, 15, 20 years,” Hoy said. “It’s a huge satisfaction to see the future of the sport flourishing.
“I am going to cycle for the rest of my life. And I hope to encourage other people to get into the sport and ride bikes too.”