LONDON: Cycling legend Chris Hoy became Britain's greatest Olympian yesterday when he powered to a sixth career gold.
Hoy, 36, won his sixth gold courtesy of victory in the keirin event which allowed him to overtake the five garnered by rower Steve Redgrave.
"I'm in shock, you try and compose yourself but it's surreal. I wanted to win gold in front of my home crowd," said Hoy who was in floods of tears at the medal ceremony.
"This is the perfect end to my Olympic career."
Hoy's emotional victory helped boost Britain's gold tally to 22, just eight behind the mighty United States, and represented the country's best ever Olympics performance.
Riding a wave of passionate home support, Britain have now won more Olympic gold medals than at any Summer Games in 104 years.
Hoy and Laura Trott, triathlete Alistair Brownlee and the equestrian dressage team have lifted the tally above the 19-gold haul at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Four years ago, Britain celebrated what was hailed as a sports renaissance for a country accustomed to seeing what Hoy described as "plucky losers."
"I think that's starting to change," said Hoy, now Britain's most successful Olympian with six career gold medals. "You have a group of athletes that have only seen success, and to them, being part of the British team is being part of the winning team."
Hoy's keirin race victory was his second London Olympics success, after being part of the victorious team sprint trio last week. It also lifted the Scottish rider over rowing great Steve Redgrave who won five golds from 1984-2000.
The 36-year-old Hoy wrote another chapter of British Olympic history. With seven medals of all colors, he tied Bradley Wiggins whose gold in the men's road time trial last week was his fourth straight Summer Games with at least one medal..