Chris Hoy followed up his Olympic cycling triumphs by steadfastly refusing to allow Alex Salmond or his Scottish nationalist cause to bask in reflected glory. Hoy’s unionism was more demonstrative than articulated, but nevertheless he made it perfectly clear that he considered himself both Scottish and British and that his medals were won as a Scotsman proudly representing the UK team.
Last night Hoy became the nation’s ‘Sports’ Personality of the Year’, emphasising the pride which the whole of the Kingdom feels in one of its greatest ever Olympians. The cyclist was visibly moved to have won this award in a year when so many other sports’ men and women achieved so highly. It was an honour which suggested much broader kinship between Britons than nationalists would like us to believe exists.
Hoy (and the Team GB cycling team as a whole) offers an example of what the United Kingdom can achieve through the combined efforts of its constituent parts. He provided the talent which harnessed a wealth of knowledge and expertise behind the scenes. Despite becoming something of a talisman, Hoy is also the consummate team player.
So whilst Iain Martin’s headline, ‘Chris Hoy Saves the Union’, might be slightly tongue in cheek, he is certainly emblematic of the Union’s strengths.