Sir Chris Hoy was given a hero’s welcome into Larbert High school - and vowed to return with a bike to ride on the school’s moutain bike course.
The six-time Olympic champion gave a motivational speech as part of the Captain’s challenge at the school but, even in light of his incredible achievements in global cycling - was still overwhelmed by the welcome. He told pupils “that entrance was phenomenal”.
After arriving at a parking space reserved by four gold cones - they couldn’t source a fifth or sixth to reflect his track success - he also told them he felt he’d spoken to “every newspaper in the world” following his Olympic triumph - but he hadn’t chatted to The Falkirk Herald.
He did get his chance moments after leaving his audience of parents, pupils and local government officials, when he was handed a piece of art from one of the students and a LHS mountain bike team t-shirt.
“That genuinely blew me away, and I have never had a reception like that - it meant a lot.
“It’s been a terrific visit and the facilities are excellent and I’m on camera saying I’ll be back for the mountain bike course - so I can’t back out!”
For his 50-minute presentation Sir Chris was expertly interviewed by Andrew Lauder and head boy Fraser Johnstone, the cyclist - who is toying with race driving since retiring from two wheels - answered questions from the audience.
Euan Edmondson, of the S6 rugby team was told: “Write down your goal and where you are now and what steps can be made in between to achieve what you want to achieve.
“That was my first advice given to me by Ray Harris at my first cycling club in Edinburgh, and it’s stuck by me.
“With him I wrote down my long-term plan was to be Olympic champion - I was the only one to set my target so high and I was laughed at by the others in the cycling club - I wasn’t even the best in the team never mind an Olympic champion.
“You’ve got to aim high in my opinion. And just because you’re the best now at a young age, - or not the best - doesn’t mean with a lot of hard work you can’t improve.
“Chances in sport are slim and I also took my schoolwork seriously and went to university.”
Questions from Laura Young, Peter Campbell, Eve Cropley and Heather McCallum were also answered and with The Falkirk Herald afterwards he added: “There were no curveballs, thankfully, and the guys [Andrew and Fraser] did their Michael Parkinson impressions expertly well,” he laughed.
But most in the hall were excited to hear the cyclist was intent on returning for a shot on the school’s mountain bike track.
“I started on a BMX, and moved onto mountain biking,” he said. “But that’s when I moved onto the track.
“My event was actually taken off the Olympic schedule for Beijing so I had to change my training regime and it turned out from a disaster to be the best thing to happen to me with the medals I won in China.”
The school’s track is part of the Tryst Community Sports Hub.