Sir Chris Hoy has told of his dismay at the divisions that have emerged in Britain since the 2012 London Olympics.
Britain’s joint-most decorated Olympian said the spirit and togetherness of the Games had vanished due to recent political turmoil.
The track cyclist, who won two gold medals in London and was the flag bearer for Team GB, said he thought things “couldn’t get worse” in the country now and dreaded watching the news.
The years since the Games have been dominated by Brexit, Scottish independence and political infighting.
Edinburgh-born Sir Chris, 43, said: “It’s sad because that was seven years ago and look at our country now and look at our country then.
“We were so united and there was such a feeling of ‘look what we can achieve and isn’t this great’. It was such a wonderful time, people were talking on the Tube and every morning I would wake up, open my curtains and see thousands of people flooding into the Olympic Park.
“It is sad when you think that in such a short space of time the country is so divided. You turn the news on and you think ‘Oh God, can it get any worse?’
“Let’s have another Olympic Games shall we? That will sort it out.”
Sir Chris, who retired from cycling following the London Games, described carrying the Team GB flag as one of the proudest moments of his career. He said negativity among the British public in the run-up to the event was replaced by optimism after film director Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony showcased the country at its best.
He told Motor Sport magazine: “There were so many doubters leading into the Games saying the transport was going to be terrible, the weather is going to be awful, we’re not going to win any medals and it’s going to be a disaster. And almost from the moment of the opening ceremony everybody sat back and said ‘this is really good’.
“It was a magical time and I got to carry the flag in for the opening ceremony. I remember thinking at the time ‘if this is all I get from these Games and I don’t win a medal it’s still been worth it’.
“When you walk in and hear Heroes by David Bowie and the crowd goes wild and you realise you’re leading in a nation at a home Olympic Games, these are the things that when you’re growing up you just assume will happen to someone else.”
During his career Sir Chris won six golds and a silver, making him joint most successful British Olympian alongside fellow cyclist Jason Kenny.