Record-breaking Olympian Laura Kenny has revealed she is considering quitting cycling after suffering an ectopic pregnancy earlier this year.
Kenny announced in April that she had miscarried at the ninth week in November. In January, the 30-year-old contracted coronavirus and was taken to hospital, where it was determined she had an ectopic pregnancy – when a fertilized egg implants outside the uterus.
The five-time Olympic gold medalist returned to racing with a silver in the Nations Cup team pursuit in Glasgow in April and will be back on track this weekend when the Commonwealth Games get underway in London – the scene of her first Olympic successes of 2012.
But Kenny said there was a point earlier in the year where without the support of her husband and fellow Olympian Jason and their son Albie, she could have ended a career that has produced six Olympic medals.
“I felt like nothing was going our way at all,” Kenny said. “January was a turning point, I was at the breaking point. If it wasn’t for Jason, I think I would have just canned it all, just said, ‘You know what, I can’t even handle this (cycling)’.
“But I grabbed my safety blanket and decided I had to get back on my bike. For me, that’s what I’ve been doing for the past 13 years. It feels like a safe place, the obvious to me when I felt like going out and riding my bike again was broken.
“It just came back and once I started I got back into the rhythm of things.
“That put a lot of things into perspective. It really made me think, ‘Why am I doing this?’ That’s because I enjoy it, that’s why, and that made me realize that more than ever.”
Kenny will represent England in the team pursuit, scratch race and points race at the Commonwealth Games, which conclude just days before the start of the European Championships in Munich.
With the Worlds following in October and Olympic qualifying beginning, it’s a daunting schedule, but after everything she’s been through over the past few months, Kenny is driving with a different perspective.
“I don’t really know what to expect ahead of these games because it’s a weird schedule where we have the Commonwealths, then a five-day gap and then we go straight into the European Championships,” the 30-year-old said.
“When two competitions are so close together you can’t rejuvenate and peak in training and in the last month I’ve literally only done three training sessions on the track.
“Before, I would have been worried and sat here in a panic and maybe it’s a bit blase for me to sit here and say I’m just looking forward to getting back on my bike, but I feel like I crushed am expectations.
“People on the outside will expect me to cross the finish line first, but I’m in a really relaxed place at the moment.”
For all her Olympic, World and European titles, Kenny has ‘only’ one Commonwealth medal to her name – the gold in the points race she won in Glasgow eight years ago.
But while the Games ranks low in terms of Olympic qualifying points, Kenny believes it’s one of the few multi-sport events where track cycling reaches a wider audience and connects with the general public.
When asked what a medal in London would mean for her, she said: “Every cycle race where you cross the finish line first gives you a different kind of joy and winning a gold medal in the coming week would be a big one have value.
“You’re only as good as your last race and the Olympics seem a long time ago so obviously I’d like to be the first to cross the finish line.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/glasgow-london-people-commonwealth-england-b2130845.html Dame Laura Kenny considered quitting cycling after a traumatic few months