Laura Kenny: ‘I hope people don’t expect me to make it to the Olympics’

Five-time gold medallist says she was ready to sacrifice Olympics return to have second child

Laura Kenny at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Track cycling legend Laura Kenny has warned people against expecting her to compete at the Paris Olympics next summer. 

The five-time Olympic gold medallist gave birth to her second child, Montgomery, in July this year, and is now back in training ahead of the Games. 

Speaking to the BBC, Kenny said she feels a “really low pressure environment” to return to the squad. 

“Whether it be the Olympics or whether it then be a World Championships, for me, obviously, the nice, grand picture that everyone wants to paint is ‘Laura’s going for the Olympics’,” she said. 

“When I read [the headlines], I was a bit terrified. I was like, ‘Oh my God, I hope people don’t expect me to actually make it to Paris.’ Because obviously it is such an ask. For me, it’s always been to race again. I just want to race again.”

Last month, the 31-year-old recorded a video with Team GB, in which she appeared to set her sights on next summer's Games. “I obviously want to compete at the next Olympics,” she told the camera. “I know everyone thinks I’m absolutely mad in saying that, but if I don’t try, I’ll never know.” 

Only five riders will make the women’s endurance track team for Paris, with Kenny, the reigning Madison champion, facing competition for a spot. 

This August, Neah Evans and Elinor Barker claimed the world title in the Madison for Team GB. Barker was also part of the team pursuit squad, along with her sister Megan Barker, Katie Archibald, Josie Knight and Anna Morris, that won World Championships gold for the first time in nine years

Speaking now to the BBC, Kenny said it would be “one hell of a comeback” if she were to be part of the squad. 

At the start of this shortened Olympics cycle, she had a miscarriage, before suffering an ectopic pregnancy in January 2022. She went on to win a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games that August, but later revealed she considered leaving the sport.

“[I was] obviously delaying [my comeback], because I still wanted to have another baby,” she told the BBC. “I knew that time would be short before the next Olympics, and it wasn’t about this big fairytale, it was about what my heart so desperately wanted. And it was to have him [Montgomery], I just wanted another one.

“I was just thinking, ‘Right, whenever this happens, we have to deal with possibly not going to another Olympics, or not competing for a while.’ And I was ok with that, because I got the outcome that I actually wanted.”

The track cycling events at the Paris Olympics will take place on on 5-11 August 2024. 

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