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Sunday, April 14, 2024
Other SportsOlympic great Kenny retires to focus on family

Olympic great Kenny retires to focus on family

Britain’s most successful female Olympic athlete, Dame Laura Kenny, has announced her retirement from cycling.

The 31-year-old, who won five gold medals, won’t compete at a fourth Games in Paris this summer after admitting the dedication required was impacting her family life.

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Kenny is married to former cyclist Sir Jason Kenny – the most successful British Olympian of all time with seven golds. They have two children together with the second arriving last July.

She told BBC Breakfast: “I always knew deep down I would know when the right time was.

“I have had an absolute blast but now is the time for me to hang that bike up.

“It’s been in my head a little while, the sacrifices of leaving the children and your family at home are really quite big and it really is a big decision to make.

“More and more, I was struggling to do that. More people asking me what races was I doing, what training camps was I going on – I didn’t want to go ultimately and that’s what it came down to.

“I knew the minute I was getting those feelings. Once I said to Jase, ‘I don’t think I want to ride a bike anymore’, I started to feel relief.”

Kenny was one of many British athletes to star at the 2012 Games held in London, winning the Women’s Omnium and the Team Pursuit and she repeated the feat in Rio De Janeiro four years later.

At the Tokyo Olympics, held back to 2021 due to Covid, she won gold in the Women’s Madison alongside Katie Archibald.

Although the lure of competing in Paris was there, Kenny said it wasn’t great enough for her to commit the time required to chase gold number six.

“I was getting these hesitant feelings,” said Kenny, who also won seven World Championships.

“Going on to win another gold medal, as much as I would love to do that, it wasn’t giving me the energy I wanted anymore, it just wasn’t.

“I wasn’t thinking, ‘I really want to go on and win one’. I was thinking, ‘I really want to stay at home with the children’.”

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.
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