Cycling great Chris Hoy led the praise for Bradley Wiggins after he surpassed his own British record Olympic medal haul in a thrilling track team pursuit final on Friday.
Wiggins, along with Owain Doull, Ed Clancy and Steven Burke, edged Australia in a gold medal showdown, breaking the world record for the second time in the day in the process.
It took his medal tally to eight (five golds, one silver and two bronzes) — one more than the now-retired Hoy, whose seven on the track includes six golds.
Hoy was watching from a BBC commentary position and was quick to congratulate Wiggins, who also becomes the first cyclist from any nation to win medals at five Olympics, having begun his collection with a Madison bronze in Sydney in 2000.
“He’s the greatest British cyclist of all time because of what he’s done across the board in so many disciplines,” said Hoy.
“Chris Froome has won three Tours de France, which is no mean feat, but Bradley has won road world titles, Tour de France, track titles and set the world hour time record.
“Tonight hasn’t really changed that because he was the greatest before tonight.”
Hoy said Wiggins’ cheeky gesture as he climbed on top of the podium with his team mates showed how much pressure had been on his shoulders.
“Sticking his tongue out during the medal ceremony showed what a release of pressure it was,” he added. “He’s happy, relaxed and loving the moment.”
Wiggins returned to track cycling, where he has won all but one of his Olympic medals, with his eye on Rio, having won the road time trial in London 2012 just weeks after becoming the first British rider to win the Tour de France.
He is only the third Britain – along with Hoy and rower Steve Redgrave – to win at least five Olympic gold medals.
“It was fantastic to be here,” Redgrave, who was watching in the velodrome, said. “The atmosphere is very special.
“I admire him so much. For his character, he’s very different, fresh and special,” he said.
“I am getting annoyed, these cyclists are pushing me down the list,” he added.
British Cycling President Bob Howden said: “He has represented his country and his sport with great distinction over the years, and we at British Cycling are exceptionally proud of Bradley and his team mates after what was a spectacular performance this evening.”