THE family of cycling star Sir Chris Hoy has sparked a new Olympics ticket row after claiming not enough was being done for competitors’ families.
David Hoy, whose son has won four cycling gold medals including three at the last Games in Beijing, said the family was struggling to get their hands on tickets to watch the 36-year-old compete in London.
Although every British athlete has been given the opportunity to buy up to two tickets for each session in which they compete, this leaves Sir Chris with the difficult decision of who to give the tickets to – his wife Sarra, parents or sister.
Mr Hoy said: “I don’t think athletes’ families have been taken into consideration. It’s not rocket science.
“It just needs somebody to sit down and think about the families who have got the athletes to this level. Just a little bit of payback would be very welcome.”
Mr Hoy said that with the final round of ticket sales due to take place in a few weeks’ time, the organisers should hold back some of them for families.
He said his message to the London 2012 Organising Committee (Locog) was simple. “Please consider how you would feel if your son or daughter had worked for ten or 12 years and slaved, trained really hard, got to this level, and then you were told, ‘Really sorry, you’re going to have to sit and watch it at home’.
“Just imagine how you’d feel and do something about it, please.”
In 2008, Sir Chris raced into the record books when his triple gold medal haul in Beijing made him Scotland’s greatest Olympian.
His uncle Derek, 58, who lives in Portobello, added: “We didn’t get any tickets [for this year’s Olympics] in the draw or the follow-up – everybody put in for as much as we could afford and not one of us got anything. I think the athletes are able to buy two tickets, so as long as Chris is actually competing, there would be two tickets, but then he’s married and his mum and dad have followed him everywhere since he first got on a bike.
“Chris is 36 now and has been racing since he was in his teens, and the family have been going along to watch him right through all that time. This will be his last Olympics.
“Like most of the other cyclists’ families, we are trying to get tickets through sponsors, so we will keep our fingers crossed. We will go down any route that’s legitimate and is not going to need us to remortgage the house.
“It’s disappointing and it is not what was promised after Beijing. When London won the bid, there was a promise that athletes’ families would be looked after better than they were at that time, but it doesn’t seem to have worked out like that.”
Mr Hoy plans to hold a party at his Portobello home for family members who don’t manage to get tickets for this year’s Olympics, where he will set up a large screen for them to watch Sir Chris in action.
He added: “Cycling is one of the most popular events and there are a limited number of seats in the Velodrome, so there’s a lot of pressure on tickets.
“We are resigned to watching it at home although we are always hopeful.
“Most of us didn’t get to Beijing so we will set up base camp at home again and follow Chris from here.”
A Locog spokesman said: “Locog is guaranteeing all athletes up to two tickets for family and friends for every session they compete in, and this hasn’t always been the case for previous Games.
“Athletes’ families typically can also get tickets from governing bodies and their national Olympic committees. Sponsor Procter & Gamble is also helping Team GB athletes’ families with tickets.”