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Chris Hoy snapped Scottish independence would make it ‘harder’ for Olympic athletes

The Scottish track cycling champion, 45, is one of a host of famous faces on the BBC’s line-up of pundits covering the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games that were postponed from last year because of COVID-19. The six-time gold medal-winner is joined in the commentary box by fellow former Team GB stars, heptathlete Jessica Ennis-Hill and track cyclist Victoria Pendleton, among others. On presenting duties are BBC Sport’s familiar names such as Gabby Logan and Clare Balding, as well more recent figures, including ex-Arsenal and England footballer Alex Scott.

Team GB has already bagged its first gold at this year’s Games, courtesy of Adam Peaty, who on Monday won the 100m breaststroke and became the first ever British swimmer to defend an Olympic title.

Future successes for Team GB were called into question by Chris however, as he issued a warning regarding Scottish independence.

During a recently resurfaced appearance on BBC Radio 5 Live, the Scot revealed his concerns over the insufficient training facilities for athletes in his homeland and the impact that would have if the country voted for independence.

“It would be harder initially to establish themselves in a new training environment,” the cyclist said during the 2013 interview.

“It’s not to say it’s impossible but it would just be a different challenge.”

Chris also said he had made up his mind about how to vote in the 2014 referendum in which Scots rejected independence by a majority of 55 percent to 45 percent.

The athlete did not reveal which way he would vote, saying that he was not a politician and did not want to get into what he described as a “hornet’s nest.”

“I’ve said numerous times how proud I am to be Scottish and how proud I have been to compete for Britain too and I don’t think these two things necessarily have to be mutually exclusive,” he said.

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Chris explained how he had been forced to move to Manchester since there was no indoor cycling track in Scotland.

The athlete, who carried the flag for Team GB at the London 2012 Olympic opening ceremony, has previously drawn abuse online over his involvement in the independence debate.

Some of the comments, made by nationalist campaigners at the time of the interview, called Chris “a traitor”, an “Uncle Tom”, a “typical Scots Tory naysayer” and a “bigoted anti-Scot.”

Other users took aim at his education at George Watson’s College, including one who suggested the “expensive Edinburgh private establishment” had made the cyclist more sympathetic towards the UK.

The attacks were condemned by politicians, including by Scottish Conservative MP David Mundell, who branded the comments “shameful.”

Independence is currently at the top of the agenda for the Scottish SNP government, led by First Minister Sturgeon.

After she and her party were re-elected in May, the leader pledged to hold another referendum, telling Prime Minister Boris Johnson it was “a matter of when, not if.”


www.express.co.uk

Daily Express

The Daily Express is a daily national middle-market tabloid newspaper in the United Kingdom. Published in London, it is the flagship of Express Newspapers, owned by publisher Reach plc. It was first published as a broadsheet in 1900 by Sir Arthur Pearson. Its sister paper, the Sunday Express, was launched in 1918.

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