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Chris Hoy Named Sports Personality of the Year

15th December 2008

Chris Hoy, who won three gold medals in Beijing, beat Lewis Hamilton and Rebecca Adlington to the honour. Chris, 32, becomes the first cyclist to win the prestigious award since Tommy Simpson in 1965.

"To win this award this year is so special as British sport has enjoyed such a hugely successful year. It's been incredible," said Chris. I really didn't expect this... standing here holding it in my hands, looking at the names on this trophy, it's quite incredible.

Edinburgh-born Chris Hoy became the first Briton to win three golds at one Games since 1908. He triumphed in the team sprint, along with Jamie Staff and Jason Kenny, and won the keirin and the individual sprint at the Laoshan Velodrome. He also won two titles at the 2008 World Championships in Manchester.

"I really didn't expect this," added Hoy, who received a standing ovation after he came to the stage to collect his award from Sir Steve Redgrave and Michael Johnson. "After the year I've had and the whole team has had, to be crowned Sports Personality of the Year, it just means so much. This is the big one and this is just unbelievable. 

 "The first person, or the first group of people I have to thank are the public who voted for me because I'm just overwhelmed. "This is unique. There is nothing like the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards. This is the big one, it's as good as it gets.

"It is a huge honour to be a Scottish winner. I remember Liz McColgan winning the World Championships in Tokyo in 1991 and seeing her win the award. "She has been saying some nice things about me in the press and I thank her for that support.

"You think back to when you started off in the sport and now I am sitting here as Sports Personality of the Year, when I have sat and watched the programme all these years, it's crazy."

Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton, who was runner-up for the second year, always felt it would not be his year to win the BBC prize. "In an Olympic year, I always thought an Olympian would win," said the 23-year-old Englishman. "I was up against such amazing athletes and I was very proud to be standing up there with them."

Rebecca Adlington, 19, who picked up two swimming golds in Beijing and in doing so became the first Briton to win a Olympic swimming title since 1988, paid tribute to Chris. "It was no surprise that Chris won the award," said the Mansfield athlete. "I turned round to my boyfriend and said that 'Chris is unbelievable'. I'm so happy for Chris - it's brilliant to see him win it."

It was a successful night for the British cycling team as they won the Team award while Dave Brailsford won the Coach of the Year crown.

The cyclists won 14 medals in total in Beijing, including eight golds. It added to the nine gold medals they won at the world track championships in Manchester in March.

"I can't believe I'm here. I've got a great team of riders and coaches behind me and I'm here to pick up this award on their behalf," said Dave.

He beat off the challenge of Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson and Wales coach Warren Gatland to take the honour, which was presented by former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan and Dame Kelly Holmes. The Olympic cycling team pipped Manchester United, the British Olympic squad and the Welsh rugby union team to the team prize.

Beijing gold medallist Victoria Pendleton accepted the team award on behalf of the remainder of the squad.

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