Scotland’s greatest ever Olympian, cyclist Chris Hoy, was named Scottish Sportsperson of the Year and was awarded the Emirates Lonsdale Trophy for the fifth time in six years at the Commonwealth Games Scotland’s Awards Dinner in Glasgow tonight (25 October 2008) in association with Clydesdale Bank.
The award is for performances between 1 July 2007 and 17 September 2008. With his three gold medals at the Beijing Olympics, Chris became the first Britain to win three gold medals at a single Games since 1908 and the most successful track cyclist of all time. Two of these three medals were won in the Keirin and Sprint, events which were only taken up after the 1 kilometre time trial, in which Chris won Olympic gold in 2004, was removed from the programme. His gold in the Keirin, ahead of follow Scot Ross Edgar, gave Scotland an unprecedented 1-2 in this event. His other gold was won in the Team Sprint with teammates Jamie Staff and Jason Kenney.
Earlier in 2008 he won World Championships gold in the Sprint, gold in the Keirin, silver in the Team Sprint. He is World record holder at 500m, has 26 World Cup gold medals and has lost only once in international Keirin races. Chris is also a patron of the Braveheart Trust to develop young Scottish cyclists.
In runner-up spot was Paralympic cyclist Aileen McGlynn who describes her greatest inspiration as coming from watching and training with Chris Hoy.
With her pilot Ellen Hunter, Aileen shaved 700ths of a second off the previous world record time, clocking 3:36.752, to lift the gold medal for the 3km Pursuit at the VISA Paralympic World Cup in Manchester in May. She also scooped gold in Manchester in the 1km Tandem in a time of 1:09.562.
This success was eclipsed at the Beijing Paralympic Games with the pair winning gold in the 1km Tandem, beating their own world record with a time of 1:09.066 in the process. Aileen then completed a remarkable 12 months by winning her second gold medal of the Games in the Women’s Individual Pursuit, beating an experienced Australian pairing in a time of 3:39.809.
Completing an impressive short list was rower Katherine Grainger who won her third successive Olympic silver medal in rowing, slalom canoeist David Florence, who also took silver in Beijing and British number one and World number four tennis player Andy Murray.
Announcing the award Michael Cavanagh, Chairman of Commonwealth Games Scotland said: “This has been a fantastic year for Scottish sport and many congratulations to all our nominees. However, Chris Hoy’s three gold medals takes him to a totally new level. He gave so many people so much pleasure and pride in what he achieved for himself, his country and his sport. He is a great ambassador and a truly worthy winner of the Emirates Lonsdale Trophy for a record fifth time.
”I would also like to thank Clydesdale Bank for supporting tonight’s dinner and the Commonwealth Youth Games Athlete of the Month awards which have been running over the summer months and which culminate tonight when we announce the Athlete of the Games.”
Congratulating the winners, Vic Sheppard, Emirates’ Vice-President, UK & Ireland, said: “Emirates is very pleased to continue its support of The Lonsdale Trophy, and we would like to offer our warmest congratulations to Chris Hoy on being awarded ‘Scottish Sportsperson of the Year’ for an impressive fifth time. As an official partner of the Scottish Commonwealth Games Team, we are honoured to be associated with an event that recognises the achievements of elite Scottish athletes on the global stage.”
Steve Reid, Retail Director Clydesdale Bank presented the Clydesdale Bank Athlete of the Games awards along with Sports Minister Stewart Maxwell.
Swimmer Douglas Scott from Strathaven was named Athlete of the Games for winning two gold medals in the 50m and 100m Breaststroke and a bronze in the 4x100m Medley Relay. He received a cheque for £500 for his training fund and his club, East Kilbride also received £500. Shooter, Kay Copeland from Banff was named runner-up for winning Scotland’s first gold medal of the Games in the 50m rifle prone event. She received a cheque for £300 as did her club Banff McDuff Rifle Club.
Also awarded tonight were five winners of Scottish Sports Aid Merit Awards, for athletes 18 years of age and under. These were made to: table tennis player Craig Howieson from Edinburgh; gymnast Cara Jamieson from East Kilbride; Triathlete, Kirsty McWilliams from Milton of Campsie; Fencer, Calum O’Donnell from Dunfermline; and wrestler Calum Steel from Cumbernauld.
Bob Heaney, Chair of the Scottish Sports Aid Foundation went on to present the Scottish Sports Aid Foundation Junior Sportsperson of the Year to Kirsty McWilliams. Kirsty has had an outstanding year, becoming the World Junior Triathlon Champion 2008, the European Junior Triathlon silver medallist 2007/2008 and Scottish Schools cross country champion 2008.