Confident Hoy says on track for more glory for Britain
MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Track cycling great Chris Hoy would be satisfied with one more gold at his home Games in London but the 36-year-old rates himself a firm chance to successfully defend all three of his Beijing titles should he win selection.
Scotsman Hoy must first qualify to join an ultra-competitive British team at the London velodrome with his selection fate still hanging in the balance ahead of the world championships in Melbourne next week.
Hoy will lock horns with sprint world champion Jason Kenny as he bids for the sole berths allocated in the individual sprint and keirin and one on the team sprint.
Despite turning 36 last week, 10-times world champion Hoy appears to be peaking at the right time, having won the keirin and sprint at the London World Cup last month, but remains wary of Kenny in Melbourne, where the world championships will carry the greatest weight for the team's Olympic selection.
"I'm pleased I've done pretty well this year so far and if I can have another good performance here then hopefully it'll be enough," a relaxed Hoy told reporters at a luxury hotel in Melbourne on Tuesday.
"You're never 100 percent confident, you just go in there and hope that your performances are enough but Jason's had a fantastic few years.
"Since Beijing, he's been there or thereabouts at almost all the championships, so it's great to have Jason there and he's world champion just now, so technically it's me that's knocking on the door trying to beat him.
"He's a great guy, we're good friends, we're roommates here, we get on really well and obviously that changes when you get on the track."
The Bolton-born Kenny, who shares the same birthday as Hoy but is 12 years his junior, was awarded the 2011 world sprint title in January after Frenchman Gregory Bauge was stripped of his title for a doping violation.
He was knocked out of the quarter-finals in a major shock at the London World Cup but has pledged to hit back hard at Melbourne, where he could take back the inside running from Hoy in the sprint with a dominant performance.
Hoy's victories in the keirin, team and individual sprint at Beijing made him the first Briton to clinch three Olympic golds in a single Games since Henry Taylor 100 years before.
He said he would not have put himself in the running for London if he did not believe he could repeat the triple success.
"I would love to repeat my performances at Beijing in London but to be honest, for me I'm just going to go out there and do my best and just hope to win a gold medal," said Hoy, who also won the kilometre event at the 2004 Athens Games before it was scratched from the Olympic schedule.
"And if I could win two or three that would be an amazing result but really my aim is to be Olympic champion in London and if I can repeat (what I did) in Beijing, then that's the dream scenario.
"But I don't think it's impossible and I think that I would only enter an event if I believed I could win it.
"I wouldn't jeopardise a gold medal to win three silvers or a number of medals that weren't gold."
Hoy, a member of Britain's national team since 1996, is bidding for his fourth Olympics after taking a silver on debut in the team sprint at the Sydney 2000 Games.
Despite new blood pushing for selection, Hoy remains reluctant to talk of a perfect swansong at London and has his eye on the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow where the track cycling will be held in a velodrome bearing his name.
"Thirty-six now," he sighed. "You find yourself reflecting on all these previous years and trips and you're telling stories to younger guys and they kind of look at you with glazed expressions when you're talking about names of guys from years gone by and you suddenly realise you're almost double the age of some of the younger lads on the team.
"I still love it as much as I did 12, 16 years ago... I think the ideal swansong would be to have a successful Games in London and then to go onto the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow because I've never actually raced internationally in my home country in Scotland.
"So that would be the ideal swansong, the great dream, to do the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games."
(Editing by John O'Brien)
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