Sir Chris Hoy dismayed at ‘divisions’ in UK: ‘Can it get any worse?’

Question of Sport: New host Paddy McGuinness introduces show

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A Question of Sport returns tonight for another instalment of a new dawn for the quiz show with Paddy McGuinness at the helm. Paddy replaced Sue Barker as host after she was let go by the BBC after 24 years. Tonight’s episode sees captains Sam Quek and Ugo Monye joined by cycling legend Sir Chris Hoy, snowboarder Aimee Fuller, former Arsenal footballer Kevin Campbell and former Welsh rugby star Adam Jones.

The Beeb issued a statement after the first episode of the new series faced huge backlash amid a reformed format and the departure of Barker, Phil Tufnell and Matt Dawson.

Fans branded the show “unwatchable” on Twitter.

Sir Chris is the second most decorated Olympic cyclist of all time, behind fellow Briton Jason Kenny.

He pursued a motorsport career after retiring from cycling, and competed in the 2016 Le Mans 24 Hours race.

Reflecting back on the 2012 Games in an unearthed interview, he admitted his heartbreak at the divisions that had emerged within British society since.

He said in a 2019 interview with Motor Sport magazine: “Look at our country now and look at our country then.
“We were so united and there was such a feeling of ‘look what we can achieve and isn’t that great’.

“It was such a wonderful time, people were talking on the Tube and every morning I would wake up, open my curtains and see thousands of people flooding into the Olympic Park.”

He felt the years since had been dominated by Brexit, Scottish independence arguments and political infighting.

Since the interview, of course, the world has battled the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Sir Chris continued: “It is sad when you think that in such a short space of time the country is so divided. 

“You turn the news on and you think ‘Oh God, can it get any worse?’

“Let’s have another Olympic Games shall we? That will sort it out!”

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He was Team GB’s flag-bearer in the London 2012 opening ceremony, something he described as one of the proudest moments of his career.

Doubts were raised over whether the UK could pull off a successful Games, both on the sporting side of things and off it.

However, Sir Chris explained these doubts vanished after the opening ceremony: “There were so many doubters leading into the Games saying the transport was going to be terrible, the weather is going to be awful, we’re not going to win any medals and it’s going to be a disaster.

“And almost from the moment of the opening ceremony everybody sat back and said ‘this is really good’.

“It was a magical time and I got to carry the flag in for the opening ceremony. 

“I remember thinking at the time ‘if this is all I get from these Games and I don’t win a medal it’s still been worth it’.”

London 2012 was Team GB’s most successful Olympics since 1908.

They beat this tally at Rio 2016 with 67 medals, and matched the London 2012 haul at the recent Tokyo Games.

Sir Chris will appear alongside new captains Ugo Monye and Sam Quek, the first female captain in the show’s history.

As part of the revamped format, captains undergo sporting challenges, with several viewers comparing it to A League Of Their Own.

One Twitter user said: “I don’t know what the BBC were trying to achieve refreshing #QuestionOfSport, but whatever it is, it ain’t [sic] working.”

A Question of Sport airs on BBC One tonight at 7:35pm. It will also be available on on BBC iPlayer.

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