Olympics-Cycling-Golden Girl Kenny relishes Madison’s historic triumph
By Shiho Tanaka
IZU, Japan (Reuters) – Britain’s Laura Kenny tasted Olympic glory in her previous two Games appearances but said nothing was more satisfying than becoming Madison’s first female Olympic champion with teammate Katie Archibald Friday.
The British pair watched in total control at the Izu velodrome as they won 10 of 12 on offer and won one lap to finish with 78 points, more than double the total for second-placed Denmark of 35.
The victory secured a fifth career Olympic title for Kenny, who became the first British Olympian to win gold at three consecutive Games.
“I have never wanted to win a medal so much in my life,” Kenny, who won a silver in the team pursuit earlier this week, told the BBC.
“I love the team pursuit but I felt relief when it was over because it was the only race I wanted to win – I feel so relieved.”
It was Kenny’s first Olympic gold medal after giving birth to son Albie in August 2017.
“I just wanted to make Albie so proud, but I thought it would never happen to me again,” said Kenny, whose husband and fellow track cyclist Jason Kenny has six Olympic gold medals.
“I don’t think I’ve won a bike race since I became Kenny and thought maybe I shouldn’t have changed my maiden name. Maybe my Trott was the lucky name. “
Archibald won madison’s world title in 2018 before she and Kenny teamed up for European money the following year.
Heading into the Olympics, Kenny revealed the duo were running ‘madison after madison’ with British Cycling’s men’s Under-23 team and set goals for each phase of the brutal 30-kilometer race.
Despite all her preparations and the vast Olympic experience she had under her belt, Kenny, 29, said she was a nervous wreck before the medal shootout.
“Just this race meant everything to me,” Kenny said. “Even before I left, I thought I could literally throw up there.”
But the duo produced a clinical demonstration by winning the first three sprints of the 120-lap race and never looked back.
“If you trust the plan you’ve refined over the months and months, it tends to work – and (today) it’s proven to work,” Archibald added.
(Reporting by Shiho Tanaka; writing by Hardik Vyas; editing by Toby Davis)