Host City: London, Great Britain
Venue(s): Velodrome, London Velopark, Olympic Park, Stratford, London
Date Started: August 2, 2012
Date Finished: August 2, 2012
Two of the three Britons who had won gold in the 2008 Olympic team sprint, Chris Hoy and Jason Kenny, were back in 2012 to defend their title, along with Philip Hindes replacing the retired Jamie Staff. They were the favorites to win once more, particularly in a home Olympics, but they had not won a World Championship in the event since 2005. That honor was usually carried by the Germans and the French and all members of both teams, except for France's Michaël D'Almeida, had at least one World Championship victory to their credit. The defending World Champion, however, was Australia, and all three members of the team Matthew Glaetzer, Shane Perkins, and Scott Sunderland, were in London in hopes of capturing the Olympic title.
The qualification round was blazing, with Russia, France, and Great Britain setting consecutive Olympic records, although the British got off to a poor start when Hindes experienced an equipment malfunction and fell while coming out of the start, thus necessitating a restart. The pace did not slow in the semifinals, where France set an Olympic record one heat prior to Britain capturing a world record. This left these two nations to race for gold while Germany and Australia dueled for bronze. In the final France nearly kept pace with the Britions through the first lap, but the stronger members of the team quickly widened the gap and made themselves untouchable, winning gold with a world record of exactly 42.6 seconds. Hoy's gold medal tied him with British rower Steven Redgrave for the most Olympic victories; he had previously won the 1km time trial in 2004 and the sprint, team sprint, and Keirin events in 2008. His team sprint silver from 2000 also meant that he had tied the record for the most Olympic medals in track cycling. In the bronze medal match, Germany defeated the reigning World Champions, leaving the top four spots in the event looking exactly as they had four years ago.
The British victory, however, was not without controversy. Following the win, Hindes admitted that his crash in the first round was deliberate, part of the team strategy for bad starts. He had also been in danger of being passed by Kenny, which would have resulted in disqualification. Hindes later retracted his statement while British Cycling claimed that, as a non-native English speaker, Hindes has simply misspoken. Both the International Olympic Committee and the International Cycling Union declined to investigate and the French did not initiate a complaint, believing the tactic to be within the rules, if not in good sportsmanship.