Olympics 2012: Media Frenzy Hits as Chris Hoy Breaks U.K. Olympian Record
LONDON – As track cyclist Sir Chris Hoy became the most successful British gold medal winning Olympian ever with his sixth, the U.K. media fervor upped a gear and his marketability rocketed.
Wednesday morning dawned with the tabloid's trumpeting home-grown success as Team Great Britain collected its 22nd gold medal courtesy of Hoy landing his sixth and the country's latest precious metal decoration.
Hoy rode to gold in the Keirin cycle race making him the most successful British male Olympian of all time with this his sixth gold medal from three Olympic Games, Athens 2004, Beijing 2008 and now London 2012.
He also secured a cycling silver medal at the Olympic Games in Sydney in 2000.
Hoy's dramatic victory in the Keirin race beat rower Sir Steve Redgrave’s haul of five golds – at consecutive games – and also saw off Bradley Wiggins' monumentally successful cycling medal haul of four golds from three Games.
Tweets chirped praise for the 36-year Scottish cyclist.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson's office tweeted: "Nearly yelled myself hoarse cheering on Chris Hoy to yet another victory. What an Olympian!," while British prime minister David Cameron tweeted his pride while ensuring women's medal hope Victoria Pendleton, who just missed out on gold in her last final before retiring, did not go unmentioned.
"Victoria Pendleton's final race made us all proud...as did Chris Hoy and [cyclist] Laura Trott's spectacular golds," Cameron said.
Even the normally caustic tweets from bad boy of standup Frankie Boyle halted temporarily with the former TV star preferring a joke about his homeland rather than the man himself.
"Chris Hoy's success comes from the fact that if he slows down at all in Scotland his bike gets stolen," Boyle tweeted.
But CNN anchor and British Olympics fan Piers Morgan, who has been embroiled in the controversy over whether or not U.K. athletes have been singing the national anthem, couldn't help himself.
"I'm not 'slagging off' Chris Hoy. He's a genius cyclist and a great guy. I just wish he'd sing the national anthem, that's all," moaned Morgan, perhaps missing the point that Hoy was heavy with emotion during his medal ceremony and likely unable to sing.
But it wasn't just social media trumpeting Hoy.
The entire front page of The Sun, owned by News International, News Corp.'s publishing division, was taken up by 22 gold medals and the words in black: "United Blingdom," while arch tabloid rival The Mirror went with "Our Pride and Hoy" over a picture of the cyclist.
The Mail also carried a big picture of the cycling phenomenon on his bike with the simple legend "The Greatest," while The Express went with "22 Carat Gold."
And the broadsheets heralded the success with Hoy, fellow golden cyclist Trott and the equestrian team gold winners all featuring.
The Guardian's front page pictured Hoy and gold above a headline "Britain's Golden Games," while News International's The Times, complete with a souvenir edition, snapped the cyclist on the velodrome track with the words in gold: "The Flag Bearer."
Even the Financial Times had Hoy on the front, albeit not the headline story, with the headline "Gold Brings a teary quiver to stiff upper lips."
In Scotland there were calls for a permanent tribute to Hoy to be erected in the Scottish capital Edinburgh where the cyclist hails from.
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson told The Scotsman newspaper she believed a statue in Edinburgh would be “perfect” while another Scottish Parliament minister called for Hoys' achievements to be recognized.
Hoy's track turns also dominated news broadcasts and radio programs Wednesday morning having attracted big viewing figures for the BBC.
The pubcaster's Olympic guru, BBC director, London 2012 Roger Mosey tweeted:"Early indications are a peak of 10.1 million people watched the @chrishoy gold medal last night."
He wasn't wrong.
The BBC reported that the last of the action in the velodrome was watched by a peak of 10.1 million for Hoy receiving his sixth Gold at 18:30
A peak of 9.4 million saw Pendleton win silver at 17:55 and a peak of 8.2 million tuned in to see Trott win gold at 17:20. All on the pubcaster's main channel BBC One and digital offering BBC Olympics 3.
It's good news for Hoy's range of commercial endorsement duties which currently includes using his square jaw to boost Gillette shaving products and his "appetite" Kellogg's breakfast cereal.
The cycling star is tipped to be inundated by companies looking to pedal their wares using the gold medal winning clean cut Olympian as the face of their campaigns.
And the softly-spoken Scot is also expected to have to sift through a slew of media-related offers as his success on the track is translated into prospects for a life away from competitive cycling.
But there is one final sporting destination for Hoy who has pledged to ride, barring injuries, at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland 2014.