Flashback: Chris Hoy handed honour of Olympic flagbearer for Great Britain at London 2012

Being named the Olympic flagbearer is a huge honour for any athlete, but the competition within the Team GB camp on this day in 2012 was particularly fierce with the Games on home soil in London.

File photo dated 23-07-2012 of Sir Chris Hoy after he was announced as Team GB flagbearer at the opening ceremony of London 2012 at the cycling team's training base in Celtic Manor, Wales.
File photo dated 23-07-2012 of Sir Chris Hoy after he was announced as Team GB flagbearer at the opening ceremony of London 2012 at the cycling team's training base in Celtic Manor, Wales.

The verdict was delivered on this day eight years ago, and the decision to go with Sir Chris Hoy was ultimately not a difficult one. The Scot, 36 in 2012, had been an ambassador for the Games, and went into the Games on the verge of history.

On July 28, Hoy would lead the British team into the Olympic stadium at the end of Danny Boyle’s spectacular opening ceremony, best remembered for the montage in which Daniel Craig’s James Bond appeared to airlift the Queen to her seat.

But Hoy was just beginning a very special mission of his own.

Four years earlier in Beijing, Hoy had taken his Olympic gold tally to four.

Victories in the sprint, team sprint and keirin in Beijing made him the first Briton to win three Olympic golds at a single Games in 100 years, and left him one shy of Sir Steve Redgrave’s British record of five career titles.

Within days of the opening ceremony, that record would be matched, then broken.

Hoy drew level Redgrave as Jason Kenny, Philip Hindes and he broke the world record in winning the team sprint on August 2nd.

And five days later he stood alone on six gold medals with victory in the keirin – his seventh Olympic medal in all to draw him level with fellow cyclist Sir Bradley Wiggins as the British athlete with the most.

Four years later in Rio, with Hoy retired and now on commentary duties, Kenny would win in the team sprint, individual sprint and keirin to join Hoy on six gold medals.

Kenny had been aiming to overhaul him this summer in Tokyo but must now wait 12 months, though he has already predicted his wife Laura, four years younger and with four golds to her name, will ultimately overtake them both.

Also on this day in sport

1949: Brian Close became England’s youngest Test cricketer when he made his debut against New Zealand at Old Trafford aged 18 years and 149 days.

He played the last of his 22 Tests at the age of 46, some 27 years later.

1988: Greg LeMond won the Tour de France for the second time, beating Laurent Fignon by a mere eight seconds.

2000: Tiger Woods won the Open Championship at St Andrews by eight shots. The American, who a few months earlier had won the US Open by the biggest margin in major championship history, became only the fifth player to complete a career grand slam of major titles after his triumph at the home of golf.

2006: Woods won the Open Championship at Hoylake, just 11 weeks after the death of his father.

2006: American Floyd Landis won the Tour de France but later tested positive for a banned substance. After a long legal battle, he was eventually stripped of his title and banned for two years.

2007: Freddie Ljungberg’s nine-year Arsenal career came to an end as the Sweden midfielder joined West Ham in a £3million move.

2010: France’s entire 23-man World Cup squad were suspended for the friendly game against Norway on August 11 after the controversy in South Africa which saw them stage a sit-in on the team bus.

2011: FIFA executive committee member Mohamed Bin Hammam was banned from all international and national football activity for life after being found guilty of bribery.

2014: The Commonwealth Games opened in Glasgow after a ceremony at Celtic Park that included performances by acts such as John Barrowman and Rod Stewart.

2016: David Moyes was appointed Sunderland manager on a four-year deal, replacing new England boss Sam Allardyce.

2017: Jordan Spieth claimed victory in the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale.

2017: Chris Froome won the Tour de France for the fourth time.