Hoy 'delighted at flag honour'

Sir Chris Hoy has said he is "delighted and honoured" to be chosen to carry the flag for Team GB at Friday's opening ceremony of London 2012.

It is the second successive time the Edinburgh-born cyclist has been given the honour, having carried the Union Jack at the closing ceremony in Beijing four years ago.

The four-time gold medalist, who is Scotland's most successful Olympian, won the biggest number of votes among the 542 members of the British team.

He said: "I'm absolutely delighted and honoured to have been voted as the flagbearer for Team GB. To lead out your team at a home Olympics is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and one that I can't wait to experience in just a few days' time."

Team GB will be the last of the 204 competing nations to enter the Olympic Stadium on Friday.

First Minister Alex Salmond, who will be travelling to London as part of a trade delegation ahead of the Games, passed his congratulations to the 36-year-old cyclist.

"He is Scotland's most successful Olympian and it is fitting that he will carry the flag at the opening ceremony," Mr Salmond said. "This is a great honour for Chris and I know the whole country will be wishing him well as he aims to add to his already fantastic medal tally at these Games."

Hoy will defend two of the three gold medals he won in Beijing in the team sprint and keirin events. Victory in both events would see him surpass Sir Steve Redgrave's British record of five gold medals.

A number of other possible candidates such as sailor Ben Ainslie and swimmer Rebecca Adlington were not on the shortlist as, because of their competition demands, they are not able to attend the opening ceremony.

Team GB's Chef de Mission Andy Hunt said: "Team GB could not have placed the flag in better hands. It is a great honour for Sir Chris and the team will be proud to march behind him. He is a fantastic ambassador for his sport and his country."