5 things you didn’t know about Team GB's record-breaking cyclist Laura Kenny
- Credit: PA
Laura Kenny is hoping to add to her record-breaking medal haul when the competes for Team GB at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics this summer, but how much do you know about the cyclist? Here’s five facts about the former Welwyn Wheelers rider.
She is a Team GB record holder
Kenny is eyeing more medals in Tokyo to add to her already record-breaking total as Great Britain's most successful Olympic female competitor of all-time.
The Harlow-born star won two gold medals in the omnium and team pursuit races at London 2012, before winning the same events at Rio 2016 to take her total to four, putting her ahead of dressage rider Charlotte Dujardin who has three golds and one silver medal.
Kenny has the chance to take her gold medal haul to seven this summer when she competes in the omnium, team pursuit, and the first-ever women’s madison.
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Should she do so, her record will be a very hard one to break.
Cycling runs in her family
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Kenny’s passion for cycling comes from her family, with their love of the sport getting her involved from an early age.
Her older sister Emma, who would go on to become a professional road rider, first took up the sport when their mother, Glenda, decided to cycle to lose weight.
Along with father Adrian, the family would spend weekends on long bike ridesm with Laura eventually starting to race at the age of eight with Welwyn Wheelers.
She quickly caught the cycling bug and started training three times a week with the club, before progressing through the British cycling programmes and onto Olympic triumph.
She considered retirement before Tokyo 2020
After a torrid 2020, Kenny very nearly quit cycling ahead of this summer’s Olympic games.
The 29-year-old suffered a broken shoulder and arm in the space of a few weeks at a World Cup in January then at the World Championships in February, injuries that made her question her future in the sport.
“It made me think: 'Why I am putting myself through this? What's the end game? I'll just get hurt.' I thought I could can this now and that would be it,” she told the Guardian.
“I just thought: 'I've had enough.' I was in so much pain and it didn't help that my arm was broken and we didn't even know.”
The postponement of the games due to the COVID-19 pandemic changed her mind though, admitting: “It made me realise I really wanted to go to the Olympics because once it got taken away, I was gutted. I was heartbroken.
“But it also meant I had the time to get myself back in the right headspace.”
Laura is one half of cycling's golden couple
Kenny is married to fellow cyclist Jason Kenny – who is looking to break the record for Britain’s most successful Olympian in Tokyo – and the pair are known as cycling’s golden couple.
Laura and Jason were catapulted into the hearts and minds of the British public after success at Rio 2016 and their wedding later that year, while they also have son together named Albert.
The couple are sometimes called the ‘Posh and Becks of cycling’ in reference to the nation’s most famous celebrity pair, Victoria and David Beckham, but it’s a tag Laura isn’t keen on.
“It feels slightly strange, because anyone who knows me and Jason knows that we are absolutely nothing like Posh and Becks,” she told Olympics.com last year.
She was born with a collapsed lung and has asthma
Kenny’s cycling career could have been over before it even began.
Born a month prematurely on April 24, 1992, she suffered a collapsed lung and was later diagnosed with asthma.
Doctors advised Kenny’s parents that she take up sport to regulate her breathing, but her respiratory issues did mean she had to give up trampolining which she had competed in from a young age.