Sir Chris Hoy awarded freedom of Edinburgh

Sir Chris Hoy awarded freedom of Edinburgh

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Britain's most successful Olympian Sir Chris Hoy has been awarded the freedom of his home city.

The six-time gold medal-winning cyclist joined other Olympians and Paralympians on an open-top bus parade through Edinburgh before attending a civic reception where he become part of an exclusive club that includes the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, Sir Sean Connery and Nelson Mandela who have received the freedom of the Scottish capital.

Sir Chris changed from his Olympic tracksuit that he wore on the bus parade into a traditional kilt for the private ceremony in the Assembly Rooms where he was presented with the honour by Edinburgh Lord Provost Donald Wilson.

Hoy said: "I'm immensely proud, but this award is for all the people who have helped me through the years, from the little seven-year-old racing BMXs to racing for Olympic medals in London, it's been an amazing journey.

"It's quite hard to take it all in, it's an emotional day and one that I will never forget."

The parade is the third celebration Sir Chris has been part of in the last week but he said his home town parade was "more personal and emotional."

"It's very emotional to see just what it means to the public, in particular in your home town, to come back to Edinburgh, my home city, and get this kind of support on a day that's not been that kind to us weather-wise, it's just amazing.

"You can't really put it into words what it means but it's our chance to thank everybody for their support."

Sir Chris was joined on stage by his wife Sara to receive the freedom of the city and former rugby player Gavin Hastings paid tribute to his achievements.

Edinburgh city councillors unanimously voted last month to give the honour to the cyclist. It is granted to people who have distinguished themselves through their work or efforts, or to recognise the respect and high esteem in which they are held by the people of the city.

Sir Chris led the official celebrations for all of Scotland's Olympic and Paralympic athletes in Glasgow on Friday. A parade led more than 50 athletes into George Square where they were introduced one by one to a crowd of around 17,000.

Thousands again turned out in Edinburgh despite heavy rain and Sir Chris took time to sign autographs and talk to the crowd outside the City Chambers before boarding an open top bus that had been painted gold for the occasion.