THE CYCLING CYCLONE; THE 29TH OLYMPICS... Beijing 2008 Hoy's Third Gold Medal Powers Him Alongside Scottish Speed Legend Jim Clark and True Olympic Idols like Allan Wells
Byline: GARY RALSTON IN BEIJING
IT took a man from Dumfriesshire to invent the bicycle and, almost 170 years later, a phenomenon from Edinburgh to perfect it.
Kirkpatrick MacMillan was once fined five shillings for frightening locals by riding through the Gorbals at eight miles an hour on the way to show off his new machine in Glasgow.
Chris Hoy flew round the Laoshan Velodrome yesterday at up to 50 miles an hour on a piece of space-age titanium and petrified anyone who dares dream of challenging his sprinting supremacy.
The Flying Scotsman, the Pedals with the Medals, yesterday became the most successful British athlete at a single Olympics for 100 years as he won his third gold in Beijing.
He now boasts a Brinks Matt collection of four golds and a silver from three Games - more than any other Scot in history.
His haul betters the achievements of famous Scots Olympians such as Allan Wells, Shirley Robertson, Eric Liddell and David Wilkie, not to mention Rodney Pattison, whose two golds and a silver from rowing were the previous benchmark of tartan success.
Hoy joined the pantheon of Scottish sporting legends in China, worthy of mention in the same breath as our greatest football, golf, boxing and rugby stars, plus speed merchants such as Jim Clark, Jackie Stewart, Col in McRae and David Coulthard.
But his energy is all self-propelled from thunderous thighs that led Dutch rival Theo Bos to conclude with some awe that his pal is in such peak condition he is riding as if he has swallowed a motorbike.
Hoy added the individual sprint title to the keirin and team sprint and there was further joy for Team GB when Vicky Pendleton won the women's individual sprint, although Bradley Wiggins and Michael Cavendish could finish only eighth in the Madison.
Hoy, 32, was inspired to take up cycling as a kid when saw the BMX bike scene from one of Steve Spielberg's most famous flicks.
Move over ET, you're not the only one who's out of this world.
Joy abounded from every corner of the velodrome as Hoy saw off GB team-mate Jason Kenny, still just 20, in the best-of-three final to make it 18 wins out of 18 in a remarkable five days of riding.
Hoy won the first two races over three laps of 250metres, involving an intriguing game of cat and mouse followed by a dash to the finish.
He rode high on the banks first time out, correctly deducing he could use the speed on the downward thrust to jolt him into a victorious sprint for the line.
Hoy left it late in the second race but another devastating trademark burst on the bank before the home straight gave him gold by the length of his bike.
He collapsed into the arms of coaches Iain Dyer and Jan Van Eijden, his first show of real emotion at the Games, just yards from the VIP box where former Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife Cherie, along with Princess Anne, were applauding wildly.
A half lap on he made for proud parents David and Carol, sister Carrie and girlfriend Sarra Kemp, who were besieged by the world's media. …