Britain’s most successful Olympian Jason Kenny has said he has “no plans whatsoever” beyond this year’s Games.
Thirty three year-old Kenny will represent Great Britain in the team sprint, sprint and keirin at the Tokyo Games this August.
But when asked if he’d continue onto Paris in 2024, when he would be 36 he said: “I have no plan whatsoever beyond the last day of the Olympics. I’ll just see how I feel and see what I want to do.”
In a sense, it is remarkable that Kenny is going to Tokyo. “I had no intention of ever carrying on after the Rio Games,” he told assorted press last week. “I took about a year off and had a complete hard reset, and then came back to it completely fresh.”
Kenny has had an extraordinary career in which he has accumulated one silver and six gold medals, becoming the joint holder of the highest number of Olympic Golds for a British athlete along with Sir Chris Hoy.
With one more gold medal, Kenny could move clear of his former teammate but this, he stressed, is not what he concentrates on. “I don’t really think about records or anything, we just focus on the task and focus on the process,” he said.
This year there are different expectations around the men’s sprint events with the emergence of the Dutch pair, Harrie Lavreysen and Jeffrey Hoogland, who swept the keirin, individual sprint and team sprint at last year’s Track World Championships. “We haven’t been the dominant team and we’ve got to find a bit better performance,” Kenny said, “and that’s what we’ve been trying to do for the last twelve months.”
There have been few opportunities, however, to test this performance within a competitive setting, given the raft of events which have been cancelled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Everyone hasn’t raced in such a long time,” Kenny said, “there have been little races here and there but no one’s come together so we have absolutely no idea what to expect.”
The last major competition for the men’s sprint squad, the Track World Championships, was held eighteen months ago, creating a huge gap between events, “such a long time in the life of sports, sportsmen are seeing so much change in that time.”
Whether this has been enough time for Kenny and the rest of the British sprint team to close the gap between themselves and the Dutch remains to be seen.
Written by Issy Ronald
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