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British Queen celebrates


Dame Laura Kenny, renowned as Britain's most accomplished female Olympian, has declared her retirement from cycling.

The 31-year-old, boasting five Olympic gold medals and seven World Championship titles in her illustrious track career, made the decision after welcoming her second child in July. Despite initially aiming for a fourth Olympics appearance in Paris this year, Kenny ultimately chose to step away from competitive cycling.

In an exclusive interview with BBC Breakfast, Kenny reflected on her decision, stating, "I always knew deep down I would recognize when the right time arrived. I've had an incredible journey, but now feels like the moment to hang up my bike."

Married to former cyclist Sir Jason Kenny, the most decorated British Olympian, Laura Kenny highlighted the challenges of balancing motherhood with elite sport. She expressed the difficulty of leaving her children and family behind for races and training camps, indicating a gradual shift in her priorities.

Kenny's journey into motherhood began with the birth of her first son, Albie, in 2017, after which she returned to cycling, aiming to demonstrate that athletes could manage both sport and parenthood. However, setbacks, including a miscarriage and an ectopic pregnancy, preceded the birth of her second son, Monty, in 2023.

Although British Cycling's performance director, Stephen Park, had acknowledged Kenny's slim chances of competing in Paris, Kenny's own feelings of hesitation regarding further Olympic success became apparent. Despite her desire to add to her medal tally, she found herself increasingly drawn to the idea of spending more time with her children.

Reflecting on her illustrious career, Kenny singled out her gold medal victories in the women's omnium and team pursuit at the 2012 London Olympics as the pinnacle moments. She described the Games as life-changing, both professionally and personally, as her relationship with Jason Kenny became public during that time.

Laura Kenny's achievements extended to the Rio Olympics in 2016, where she secured gold in the same events, making her the first British woman to win four Olympic titles. At the delayed Tokyo Olympics in 2021, she added to her legacy by claiming silver in the team pursuit and winning gold in the newly introduced women's madison event with Katie Archibald.

With her retirement, Kenny leaves behind a legacy as the most successful female cyclist in Olympic history, having won gold at three consecutive Games. Her extensive accolades also include 14 European titles and three medals, including two golds, at the Commonwealth Games.

Looking ahead, Laura Kenny expressed openness to various opportunities in her post-cycling life. While she hopes to be involved in some capacity in this summer's Olympics, her long-term plans include initiatives to support the next generation of cyclists, possibly through the establishment of an academy or involvement in developmental programs. Photo by Nicola, Wikimedia Commons, CC-by-sa 4.0, Wikimedia commons.