Sir Chris Hoy Image
Meeting Sir Chris Hoy

A month ago I was lucky enough to meet Sir Chris Hoy.  If by some chance you don’t know who Sir Chris is, he’s a multiple world and Olympic Champion track cyclist.  He raced BMX from the age of 7 until he was 14 and he joined his first cycling club in 1992 making it into the British National Squad in 1996.  Winning his first medal in 1999 (a silver) he went on to win 11 world and 2 Commonwealth titles.  Chris won his first Olympic Gold in Athens in 2004, won 3 gold medals in Beijing and his 5th and 6th gold at the games in London to become Britain’s most successful Olympian with 6 gold and 1 silver medals.

Sir Chris told me that when he joined the City of Edinburgh Cycling club in 1994 the coach sat him and his friends down and asked them to write down their short, medium and long term goals.  When he said that he wanted to be an Olympic champion his friends laughed at him; he wasn’t even the best cyclist amongst them, he said.  More interestingly, Sir Chris told me, that it was watching the film E.T. that had originally got him in to cycling.  As a 7 year old, BMX bikes were just coming to the UK and it was this that sparked his initial interest.

It got me thinking about what originally sparked my interest in paddling.  I was around 6 or 7 the first time I saw a kayak.  It was on the River Stour in Sudbury, Suffolk.  I was playing on the old railway bridge, as I often did, and the Sea Scouts were lowering kayaks from the bridge to the water, climbing down ropes into them and paddling off down the river.  I joined the Cub Scouts at 8 years old and a couple of years later I was doing exactly the same thing with the Sea Scouts.  Little did I know then that a kayak would take me across the Irish Sea, to the Smalls lighthouse, down Alpine rivers, across the Mediterranean or that I would make a living from guiding and coaching kayaking.

What sparked your interest in kayaking?