Tokyo Olympics: Jason Kenny 'buzzing' as cycling great lands seventh Games gold

By Sports Desk August 08, 2021

Jason Kenny took a leap of faith and saw it pay off as the British cycling great landed his seventh Olympic gold medal with an audacious keirin triumph.

The 33-year-old Kenny made an immediate break from the pack in Sunday's final as soon as the derny bike - the motorised bicycle that paces the riders in the early laps - moved aside.

It was a calculated gamble as Kenny surged the best part of half a lap clear of his rivals, who were caught by surprise and only began to seriously narrow the gap in the closing metres.

Kenny, who won his first gold in Beijing, has now been a podium topper at four consecutive Olympic Games and becomes the first athlete from Great Britain to win more than six golds in a career. He had previously been level with fellow cyclist Chris Hoy.

In total, Kenny has nine Olympic medals, with two silvers to go with his stack of gold.

"It is a bit of shock I think," Kenny said. "I really wanted to cross the finish line. Obviously, I am absolutely buzzing."

Asked about his decisive early move, he explained: "It was just too big an opportunity. I didn't really want to be on the front, I felt like I had a bit of a target on my back with these guys behind. When I looked back, I saw a gap, gave it a little squeeze and it got bigger. I just sort of went through it.

"Everyone just looked at each other and it was just enough - I was just lucky it was enough for me to slip away and get my head down.

"I kind of felt like I had nothing to lose, so I put my head down and went through it.

“It was such a long way. I felt like the last lap took me about half an hour. But I got there in the end. I still can’t believe I crossed the line on my own."

 

Silver went to Malaysian rider Mohd Azizulhasni Awang, and Dutchman Harrie Lavreysen took bronze.

Kenny earned a team sprint silver earlier in his Tokyo 2020 programme but was only eighth in the individual sprint.

To produce a gold-winning display again was a fine way to end his time in Japan's capital, but there was disappointment for his wife, Laura Kenny, whose bid for a hat-trick of omnium titles ended with a sixth-placed finish.

The London 2012 and Rio 2016 champion had a fall in the scratch race and then struggled to get in medal contention, with gold going to American Jennifer Valente, silver to Yumi Kajihara of Japan and bronze to Kirsten Wild of the Netherlands.

Laura Kenny at least enjoyed her husband's success, after privately fearing he would fall short.

"The amount of people who came up to me afterwards and were like 'I'd have counted him out of this' - and to be honest, so had I!" Kenny told BBC Sport.

"I was speaking to him last night and he was like 'I just want to go home'. Then obviously he won - just typical Jason, that."

Gold in the women's sprint went to Canada's Kelsey Mitchell, who edged out Ukraine's Olena Starikova in the final, with Lee Wai Sze of Hong Kong beating Germany's Emma Hinze to bronze.

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