As the accolades showered down on triple Olympic gold medallis Chris Hoy after receiving the BBC Sports Personailty of the Year, the Edinburgh cyclist received more praise from former winner and fellow Scot, Sir Jackie Stewart
“It’s terrific, and there’s no question in my mind that the right man won,” the three-times Formula One World Champion said today.
“I’m obviously very conscious that in the build-up to the programme I was quoted in a number of newspapers and magazines tipping Lewis Hamilton to win. But I would say that, of course, if I was wearing my motorsport hat.
“But with my Scottish hat on, my personal preference was to see Chris win the award and, having watched the programme on television on Sunday and relived again what he’s achieved, there’s no doubt in my mind that the right guy won.
“Not only is he a fantastic athlete, but he is blessed with the ability to not only speak very well in public, but also very humbly about himself.
“There’s no denying he has made many serious sacrifices along the way to his achievements, and those have come at not only his expense but also his family and his girlfriend.
“I remember feeling when I won the award in 1973 – and also when I picked up other awards, such as the American Sportsman of the Year – that I was in a very privileged position when compared to many of the other sportsmen and women who were also in the running for the awards.
“While I was being paid very, very handsomely for competing in the sport I loved, many of the other sportsmen and women were almost scrimping to make ends meet. Yet they too were at the very highest levels within their own sports.
“It was similar last night. Lewis, as F1 world champ, is paid millions of pounds a year, yet Chris and the swimmer Rebecca Adlington, despite being multiple Olympic gold medallists will have earned a tiny percentage of what Lewis picked up this year.
“I know how proud I felt as a Scotsman when I watched on TV as Chris won his golds in Beijing, so I know he made the whole of Scotland proud not just with his medals, but now by winning the BBC award.
“And what’s equally fantastic is that he has decided to keep pedalling for another four years and go for more gold in the London Olympics.
“Some might question whether, at 32, it’s the right decision, but I know I was fitter and stronger both physically and mentally after I was 30 than any time before. Ok, I wasn’t pedalling a bike, but I’m sure Chris will feel exactly the same way.
“There’s no doubt in my mind, Chris is up there with the great Olympians like Sir Steve Redgrave. No Brit had ever won three gold medals in one Olympic Games and I sincerely hope that when the New Year Honours List comes round in a few weeks, Chris receives exactly what he’s due.”