July 21, 2021
By Martyn Herman
TOKYO (Reuters) – If Jason Kenny and his spouse Laura had been a rustic, their 5 observe biking golds on the Rio Olympics would have put them within the prime 20 within the medals desk.
Now British sport’s golden couple, key gamers of their nation’s domination on the boards, are aiming to prime up their legacies and re-write the file books on the Tokyo Video games.
Laura is Britain’s most adorned feminine Olympian with 4 golds, having by no means misplaced an Olympic occasion. Jason, in the meantime, wants yet one more gold to surpass the British file six he shares with observe colossus and former crew mate Chris Hoy.
The Kenny residence might require a bigger trophy cupboard by the point the racing concludes on the Izu velodrome, and there’s additionally the chance that Jason will return house the second-most profitable Olympian in his home.
“Lots of people have informed me about that,” Laura, who gained crew pursuit and omnium gold at London and Rio as Laura Trott, informed reporters within the build-up to Tokyo.
“I’m residing with the individual I’m attempting to beat. However I don’t actually give it some thought.”
She is bidding for 3 golds by repeating her crew pursuit and omnium victories in London and Rio and successful the Madison occasion, which is new to the ladies’s programme.
Had the Tokyo Video games gone forward final yr 29-year-old Kenny’s domination might need been threatened as she was nonetheless getting back from a damaged scapula.
The Madison, a relay-type endurance race during which two riders take turns lapping the circuit earlier than hand-slinging their crew mate onto the observe, would have been particularly problematic.
So the 12-month delay has been one thing of a blessing.
“I put my hat within the ring for 3 occasions (final yr), however how I’d have gotten chosen for that Madison, I don’t know,” she mentioned. “It was possibly June final yr by the point I may truly do a Madison change.”
Now at full health, Trott will likely be favorite for every of her three occasions, even when the U.S. crew pursuiters disagree.
For Jason, the competitors is fiercer than ever with Britain’s domination of the lads’s velocity occasions waning.
Every of the occasions he gained in Rio — crew dash, particular person dash and keirin — had been gained by Dutchmen on the 2020 world championships in Berlin, the final dependable gauge of kind.
Flying Dutchman Harrie Lavreysen is not going to decelerate so Kenny, who with crew mates Ryan Owens and Jack Carlin had been eclipsed by the Dutch in Berlin, must velocity up.
“The world champs had been 18 months in the past, and that’s such a very long time within the lifetime of a sportsman or a crew,” the 33-year-old mentioned. “We actually don’t know till you place it on the beginning line how aggressive we’re going to be.”
Kenny has a contented behavior of peaking on the Olympics and with Britain unleashing its newest state-of-the-art bike, he may bow out on a excessive in most likely his final Video games.
“The numbers have been good, I feel we’re in a great place,” he says of the crew. “We’re beginning the run-in and placing the icing on the cake.”
Regardless of being on the cusp of one thing unprecedented in British Olympic historical past, he says he’s “relaxed” on the prospect of going previous Hoy’s file.
“Each gold medal has been particular, proper again to Beijing. They’ve all obtained a narrative, and this one can be no totally different,” he mentioned. “I don’t actually take into consideration information. I simply concentrate on placing in a efficiency to be on the sharp finish.”
However what about whether or not he or Laura has extra gold medals to indicate their younger son Albie?
“We simply plough our personal furrows and need one another to do effectively,” he mentioned, enjoying down any in-house rivalry.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Enhancing by Hugh Lawson)