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Sir Chis Hoy is the third winner of the Edinburgh Award

Rt Hon George Grubb, Lord Provost and Sir Chris Hoy

The phenomenally successful Edinburgh-born cyclist Sir Chris Hoy MBE has been selected as the 2009 recipient of the prestigious Edinburgh Award. The Olympic athlete, who spent his formative years in the Capital received the coveted accolade at a glittering award ceremony at Prestonfield on 30th June. 

Nominations for the Edinburgh Award were received from a cross section of people from the fields of arts, sport, business, science and hospitality, the Edinburgh Award judging panel unanimously voted Sir Chris as this year's winner.

Sir Chris is the third winner of the Edinburgh Award, following in the footsteps of city writers Ian Rankin and JK Rowling.

The Edinburgh Award was set up in 2007 to recognise an individual's outstanding achievements and contribution to the city of Edinburgh. The winner is selected by a judging panel chaired by the Lord Provost, with representatives from all political groups on the City of Edinburgh Council, Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations Council and the business community.

Commenting on the award, Sir Chris said: "I'm absolutely delighted to receive this award and deeply honoured to be recognised in this way by my home city. I was born and brought up in Edinburgh and the support I received in all areas of my life there - at school and University and with my cycling career - is an integral part of my success. The City of Edinburgh Racing Club was the best amateur track cycling club in the UK, and joining it was the first step towards where I am today."

He added: "I'm very proud to be from Edinburgh and I hope to move back there one day."

Speaking on behalf of the judging panel, Lord Provost George Grubb said: "Sir Chris is an outstanding ambassador for Edinburgh. Following his incredible achievements in Beijing last summer, he now enjoys the kudos of being the greatest Olympian this city has ever produced. He is an inspirational role model for our city's young people, proving that hard work, dedication and sheer determination can help turn natural talent into world-beating success.

"Like millions of people across the globe, I was glued to the television screen when Sir Chris made Olympic history last year in Beijing. It was truly exhilarating to witness a cherished Edinburgh son achieve such startling success. And it inspired me to do much more cycling myself - only a few days ago, I took part in the Dunfermline to Edinburgh charity cycle ride along with my grandson and son-in-law.

"We are thrilled to be presenting Sir Chris with this year's Edinburgh Award. As the third ever winner, following Ian Rankin and JK Rowling, he is joining a very prestigious club indeed."  

The judging of the Edinburgh Award was based on strict criteria, including whether the nominees' work or achievements had made a positive impact on the city, gained international renown and contributed to an increase in tourism, education or overall awareness of Edinburgh.

As part of his award, Sir Chris will have his handprints immortalised in Caithness stone in the City Chambers quadrangle. He will also be invited to attend civic receptions, to accompany the Council at the annual Kirking at St Giles Cathedral and to take the salute with the Lord Provost at the Tattoo.

Sir Chris Hoy

Sir Chris Hoy MBE, multiple World and Olympic Champion track cyclist, was born and raised in Edinburgh and has been competing in various sports since the age of seven. He raced BMX until he was 14 years old, becoming Scottish Champion and ranking second in Britain and ninth in the World.

Sir Chris also rowed and played rugby for his school, George Watson's College, throughout his teenage years. He rowed for Scotland as a junior, winning a British Championship silver medal in the Coxless Pairs.

As a senior, Sir Chris turned his attention to track sprint cycling and in 1992 he joined his first cycling club in Dunedin. Two years later he joined The City of Edinburgh Racing Club, the most successful track club in Britain, and since 1996, the 33-year-old has been an integral member of the Great Britain National squad. He won his first World medal in 1999 - a silver in the Team Sprint - and has won nine World and two Commonwealth titles to date.

Sir Chris won his first Olympic gold medal in Athens 2004 in the Kilo - an event that was dropped from the programme for Beijing 2008. He took this in his stride and switched his focus to three other track sprint events - the Keirin, Sprint and Team Sprint. He went on to win a gold medal in all three at the Beijing Olympics, cementing his name in the history books.

As well as his sporting achievements, Sir Chris has a BSc Honours in Applied Sports Science from the University of Edinburgh.  In 2005 he was awarded two Honorary Doctorates - one from the University of Edinburgh and another from Heriot Watt University.  He was also awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours List.

Sir Chris' achievements throughout his career make him Scotland's most successful Olympian, the first Briton since 1908 to win three gold medals in a single Olympic Games, and the most successful Olympic male cyclist of all time.

Following his historic hat-trick of gold medals at the Beijing Olympics, Sir Chris was voted 2008 BBC Sports Personality of the Year. He was also awarded a Knighthood in the 2009 New Year Honours list, capping an extraordinary year for the track cyclist from Edinburgh.

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