Laura supported Kenny to seek more Olympic success after considering quitting


Britain’s performance director Stephen Park has backed Laura Kenny to seek more Olympic success after the five-time gold medalist revealed this week that she was considering quitting the sport.

Kenny won gold for England at the Commonwealth Games Scratch Race on Monday and then admitted she had wondered if it could be her last race after what has been a horrible time for her personally.

The 30-year-old was planning a second child with husband Jason but suffered a miscarriage in November and had one of her tubes removed due to an ectopic pregnancy in January.

Kenny has spoken to Park about possibly taking some time off and it seems likely she will miss next week’s European Championships, which in turn would put an appearance at the Worlds in October in question.

But with Olympic qualifying starting next year, there’s still plenty of time for Kenny to return.

“I think Laura and a lot of her teammates and coaches have found the last two years really tough,” Park said. “The whole ‘Are the Olympics on? Aren’t the Olympics coming up?’ It’s taking a huge toll, you’ve been working your way up for four years.

“Laura’s own ambitions for her own family – these things are well documented. That all plays strong. Now we are right in the qualifying process for Paris. It’s quite tiring and unrelenting, and has felt that way for many drivers and many staff.

“When you have that achievement, especially when you’re a multiple medalist at multiple games, look, can you achieve another one? can you go on I personally think she can go on.

Scottish sprinter Jack Carlin was another rider who has spoken out about his struggles since the Olympics (John Walton/PA)

(PA wire)

“She’s clearly a fantastic champion, but there’s absolutely no doubt that you need to make sure you’re fresh, both physically and mentally, and ready to go.”

The disrupted Olympic cycle caused by Covid has affected several riders, with sprinter Jack Carlin speaking about his own struggles this week.

“One of the things that we need to learn and develop is how we continue to deal with experienced multi-medalists who know well how to line up for the right performance,” said Park.

“We need to work in partnership with them and their support teams to get the best out of them.

“Equally, we need to ensure that the program as a whole continues to produce talent and create that upward pressure, because there will come a time for everyone when they decide to retire.

“It will be fantastic if Laura continues her streak of Olympic medals. If she decides for all the important reasons that are in play, that’s not what she wants to do. I am very confident that there will be many young women who will step up and take on this mantle.”

Kenny won England’s only track cycling gold as Australia and New Zealand dominated the top step of the podium. In total, however, the home nations had 24 medals with 13 each for Australia and New Zealand.

The lack of gold can partly be explained by the fact that the home nations’ focus is on the Euro and the World Cup, while Australia and New Zealand give this event a higher priority.

Drivers across the UK squad have also adjusted to new coaches. With Monica Greenwood stepping down as women’s endurance coach, all four divisions of the team will have new coaches since Tokyo.

Jason Kenny is among the new faces in charge, but Park admitted there will be an adjustment period.

“They clearly don’t have the years of coaching knowledge and experience that some of our outgoing coaches have,” he said.

“We have to support them with this program but I think the spirit and vibe at the camp was fantastic.” Laura supported Kenny to seek more Olympic success after considering quitting

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