By Nigel Wynn
Sir Chris Hoy has been confirmed as the Great Britain team flag bearer at the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on Friday, July 27. He will be the first British cyclist to carry the flag at a Games opening ceremony.
The Beijing triple Olympic gold medallist will hold aloft the Union flag and will be the first British athlete to step into the Olympic stadium. As host nation, Great Britain will be the last country to appear.
In June, some doubt was cast over Hoy's participation in the opening ceremony as it had been suggested that many of the cyclists would miss the event entirely in order to finalise preparations before the Games commence.
However, Hoy told Cycling Weekly last month: "If I was nominated and chosen as a flag bearer, it would be one of the greatest honours of my career; to represent Great Britain and walk out in front of a home crowd at a home Olympics would be incredible."
Hoy was chosen by a panel of athlete representatives and the British Olympic Association Chef de Mission Andy Hunt from a list of nine nominations. He is one of the most successful, popular and experienced British athletes in the entire GB team.
The Scot is reprising the role, he was the flag bearer for Great Britain at the closing ceremony of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Swimmer Mark Foster was GB flag bearer at the opening ceremony.
The British track squad are currently resident at the Newport velodrome in South Wales. They were not due to travel to London until July 28, but Hoy will now have to make an earlier-than-expected appearance at the Games.
London is set to be Hoy's final Olympic Games. The sprint specialist holds the record for the number of Olympic gold medals won by a British cyclist at four.
Hoy will compete in the keirin and team sprint events in London, but Jason Kenny was selected ahead of Hoy for Britain's one place in the individual sprint. It means that Hoy will not be able to defend all of his three Olympic titles from Beijing.
The men's team sprint qualifying and finals take place on August 2 in the London 2012 velodrome.
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