Rio Olympics 2016: Bradley Wiggins reflects on golden finale to 16-year Olympic career
PUBLISHED: 11:08 15 August 2016 | UPDATED: 11:08 15 August 2016
Sir Bradley Wiggins reflected on his first Olympic medal in Sydney, when Sir Steve Redgrave won his fifth gold, as his career came full circle.
Kilburn born Wiggins won his fifth Olympic gold and British record eighth medal in all in his fifth Games on Friday night, playing down comparisons with six-time Olympic champion Sir Chris Hoy and Redgrave, winner of five golds.
The 36-year-old, who won bronze in the team pursuit in 2000, said: “Who counts bronze and silvers when you’ve got five golds? Five is a nice number.
“Chris has got six, so I haven’t surpassed Chris.
“I can remember 16 years ago being in Sydney and seeing Steve win his fifth with Matt (Pinsent), James Cracknell and that.
“I just remember thinking ‘wow’. He was such an inspiration to me at 20 years of age.
“And going to all the things afterwards after the Olympics that year. Sports Personality and sitting in the crowd. ‘Sixteen years I’ve been coming here and I had to retire to get nominated’. I still remember it like it was yesterday.
“To have five of your own is just brilliant. They’re my two heroes in Olympic sport, apart from Michael Johnson, who is not here.”
It was a golden finale for Wiggins, who won with Ed Clancy, Steven Burke and Owain Doull ahead of Australia in a world record of three minutes 50.265 seconds.
And if Wiggins took inspiration from Redgrave, then his team-mates and British Cycling support staff were inspired by Britain’s first Tour de France champion returning to the track for his Olympic swansong.
Clancy, who won his third straight Olympic gold in the four-man, four-kilometres team pursuit, said: “He’s just like the other boys. He doesn’t feel the need to be a superstar amongst us, he’s got no ego to throw around. He’s just a nice guy, he’s fun.
“We needed Brad to turn this whole programme around. Rome wasn’t built in a day and if you look back 18 months, two years ago it’s not just me, Burkey and Owain who have been inspired by Brad being around - the coaches, the sports scientists, the physios, the management (have too).
“They’ve really thrown everything at this team pursuit since Brad’s turned up.
“He’s just got that aura about him. People want him to win.
“Looking at the winning margin (0.743secs), it would’ve been difficult to do without him.”
Wiggins expressed relief after ending his top-level road career with Team Sky in April 2015 and “the big salary” to be “just a number again”.
“It’s just nice that it’s finally over. I haven’t lost my house either,” Wiggins said.