Scotland’s greatest ever Olympian has admitted he wouldn’t have been able to make the grade had it not been for Meadowbank. Chris Hoy, who now has two Olympic Gold and one Silver medal, has criticised Edinburgh Council for its plan to scale down Meadowbank and has called on politicans to let sports people decide what should happen to the premier sports facility in Scotland’s capital.
“If Meadowbank hadn’t existed there is no question that I wouldn’t be where I am today – or Craig MacLean for that matter,” Hoy admitted in a recent article in Scotland on Sunday.
“My big concern is that once Glasgow is built, Meadowbank will be demolished and the chance to keep the Edinburgh Racers club going will be in jeopardy.
“Without the grassroots introduction to the sport, there will be a whole generation of kids that won’t have the opportunity to try out track cycling and one or two could have gone on to become Olympic or world champions.
“And to expect a kid of 12, who is just trying out cycling for fun, to get his parents to take him through to Glasgow and back twice a week is unlikely. Today’s elite riders will travel, but what about the future champions?
“The future of the sport depends on there being a facility and I fear for the future of Scottish cycling. There is expertise in Edinburgh that’s been built up over 40 years and that will all be lost if Meadowbank isn’t replaced. But it is politicians and not sportspeople who make these decisions, and sometimes it is a shame that we do not have more of a voice.”
Chris Hoy started his career at Meadowbank and is still a regular user of its veldrome.
A parliamentary motion to honour Chris Hoy has already been signed by fourteen MSPs. “Edinburgh should honour his achievements by providing and enhancing track cycling facilities in the capital,” said Green MSP Robin Harper, who proposed the motion. Harper also highlighted “the important role that the velodrome at Meadowbank Stadium played in Chris Hoy’s development as a track cyclist” and noted “that without the provision of a track cycling facility in the city many would lose the opportunity of involvement in one of Scotland’s most successful sports.”
Save Meadowbank spokesman Kevin Connor extended congratuations on behalf of campaigners. “The Save Meadowbank campaign congratulates Chris Hoy on his achievement on becoming Scotland’s most successful Olympian. He is a great role model and proof of what Meadowbank has helped achieve.”