Asked in an interview for the Guardian newspaper which living person he most admired and why, Sir Chris Hoy answered Jason Queally, his former teammate, “He is older than me and was Olympic champion in Sydney. The way he mentored me, even though he knew I would be a rival, was amazing.”
Despite winning Olympic gold and silver; gold, silver and bronze medals across six world championship competitions; silver medals in the Commonwealth Games in 1998, 2002 and 2006, and being inducted into the British Cycling Hall of Fame in 2009, cycling wasn’t always Chorley-based Queally’s passion. He would eventually turn the wheels aged 25, a late comer to the sport by today’s standards, making an immediate impression on the track.
It was in 1995, on the outdoor track at Meadowbank in Edinburgh, only the second track that he had ever ridden on, that a horrific accident would change the trajectory of Queally’s early cycling career. A pile up with Hoy and Craig MacLean saw him skid and become impaled with two large splinters of the wooden track, built in the 80s for the Commonwealth Games. Although if caught in his speedos these days, he may just tell you the scars were from a shark bite, back then the incident left him reticent to compete in sprint events. The Kilo, team sprint riding and time trial events, became his sole focus as they presented a reduced risk of crashing.
It was clearly a good move, as on the track at the Dunc Gray Velodrome, Sydney, in the men’s 1km time trial, Queally stormed to gold; setting a new Olympic record of 1:01.609 and securing Britain’s first medal of the Sydney Olympics. A golden era of British dominance on the track had begun, with Sir Chris Hoy, Bradley Wiggins, Ed Clancy and Laura and Jason Kenny all winning gold at subsequent Olympic Games.
Not finished with the Olympics, Queally retired from able-bodied cycling and subsequently worked with Paralympic cyclist, Anthony Kappes, with the goal of competing on a tandem at the 2012 Paralympics. But the call of making the Team Pursuit in the home Olympics was too strong, “It kept niggling, niggling at me. I spoke to my wife, and she said I should go for it. It will be tough, but London is a once in a lifetime opportunity." For Jason, this wasn’t to be realised and he returned to working with Kappes as a pilot for the tandem events in November 2012.
Today, the speed lover, who once reached speeds of 64.34mph (a European record) at the World Human Powered Speed Challenge in Nevada, will be enjoying a slower pace and more luxurious ride with our joyriding guests!
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