Chris Hoy: The Autobiography Hardcover – 15 Oct 2009
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Praise for Chris Hoy:
‘It’s hard to think of a more deserving recipient of success than Chris Hoy’ Guardian
‘Who is my sporting hero?' It's Chris Hoy.' He's an inspiration…a real role model’ Team-mate Victoria Pendleton
‘To appreciate Hoy, you need to understand his exercise of self-control, plus those nagging doubts, for it is this potent combination that has driven him to such heights’ The Times
About the Author
Chris Hoy was born in Edinburgh in March 1976. He represented Scotland at junior level for BMX and rowing, and joined his first cycling club, Dunedin CC, in 1992. He began focusing on track racing and joined the City of Edinburgh Racing Club a couple of years later. Chris has been a member of the British track cycling squad since 1996. He has a degree in applied sports science from the University of Edinburgh. He has four Olympic gold medals to his name, nine World Championships, and two Commonwealth Games golds. He received a knighthood in 2009.
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Chris show his scientific background and takes a very analytical approach to writing this book. Talking about how hard work will overcome talent any day of the week. The determination and sacrifice to become a great athlete, yet being grounded, relatable and respected enough by his peers and fans alike to become an ambassador and leader of his sport. Even better this book is extended to capture his London 2012 exploits and accolades.
In his recent retirement Sir Chris said he left it all on the track. He writes this book with the same kind of passion and commitment he show to his sport. As a reader I thought I felt all the emotion Chris felt in his races, without the pain or painful side effects. Coming from an endurance background I have been trying to learning more amounts sprinting to become more explosive in my training and exaction. This book covers everything from the physical to mental toughness needed to become an athlete. Great book by a great bloke.
Hoy started out in BMX racing as a seven year old, a sport he gave up seven years later when he realised he wasn't enjoying it. During those years he learned a number of lessons which, as a coach, I constantly try to get over to parents. Natural ability is not enough. Talent will only take you so far after which everything is down to hard work, mental preparation and self belief. As Hoy writes, "Talent, as far as I am concerned, can in some cases be a nebulous, even damaging, notion; it can be a hindrance rather than a help....It was my potential, rather than my talent, that excited and inspired me, driving me on." Winning as a youngster was useful, knowing there is always someone else to beat was better.
In addition to top class preparation - and the decision to locate the top performers in one location where there are first class facilities - Hoy acknowledges the psychological assistance he has received. Professional sport is about controlling the emotions (soccer seems to be an exception) in order to concentrate on the task in hand. There's also reference to nature of the physical effort involved in racing which doesn't come across on television. As one top class athlete said to me, "It's hard. The knack is making it look easy". Hoy's single mindedness was such that when his preferred event, the kilo, was removed from the Olympics in order to accommodate BMX at Beijing he set new goals and emerged as the world's best sprinter, equalling the British record of three individual golds set by Henry Taylor 100 years earlier.
The book is almost totally focused on cycling. People drift in and out of the story but it's all about Hoy and the bike. In that respect I'm unsure if those who do not share Hoy's commitment to cycling will find it as expansive a story as they would wish. Sports people in any sport will recognise it for what it is and be able to relate to it more easily than the general reader. There are other avenues of course. Reference is made to cases of drug taking, Hoy's own preference for the track with some interesting but largely uncontroversial observations on coaches and other cyclists.
In a wider context Hoy's uncle Derek is a prominent figure on the Scottish folk scene and one day, shortly after the Athens Olympics, Hoy went into a music shop in Edinburgh to buy a CD. " When the guy behind the counter took my credit card, he looked at the name and did a double take. "you're not...? and I thought: that's pretty cool - he's recognised me from the Olympics... "you're not Derek Hoy's son, are you? He's a legend". It's all a matter of perspective. Henry Taylor is only known now because Hoy equalled his record.
Hoy has not been affected by proposed changes to the cycling programme for the 2012 London Olympics. He could win another three golds as the events which will be removed from the men's cycling programme are not those he contests. As Reg Harris proved age is less of a problem for sprinters than it is for endurance cyclists. Based on his performances in 2009 Hoy will probably win more championship medals, although he knows he's being pressed by youngsters which, as ever, is what keeps him focused. Oh - and just for the record - he does eat bran flakes for breakfast!!!
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