Kenny: Emotional and family sacrifices too much to continue pro cycling

Daily News
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Kenny: Emotional and family sacrifices too much to continue pro cycling

Laura Kenny, Britain’s most decorated female Olympian, has told Sky Sports her decision to retire from professional cycling ahead of the Paris Olympics came down to the ’emotional sacrifices’ of leaving her family. 

Kenny won five Olympic golds and seven world titles in her incredible career and is married to former cyclist Jason Kenny, who is the most successful British Olympian.

The 31-year-old gave birth to her second son last July and will not compete at this year’s Olympics in Paris, which begins on July 26.

Speaking to Sky Sports News on Tuesday, Kenny revealed the birth of her second child altered her mindset, and was the main reason behind her decision to retire.

“It’s the sacrifice of the children at home, really. It has to be worth it,” Kenny said.

Laura Kenny and Jason Kenny

Image: The 31-year-old won five Olympic gold medals in her career, while her husband Jason Kenny (right) is Britain’s most successful Olympian

“When I had Albie, I was totally, fully competed to go to another Olympic Games, and I really wanted to win another gold medal. I was 100 per cent in.

“Whereas this time, having Monty, it just completely changed my mindset. The sacrifice now is too big for me.

“Honestly, the last year before the Commonwealth Games, was just the hardest mental strength I’ve had to dig deep within myself for.

“It was just really exhausting, and it’s been a really draining year.

“The emotional sacrifice of leaving them, I can’t do it. The feeling it gives me is horrible.”

Laura Kenny

Image: Kenny says ‘the sacrifice now is too big for me’, having confirmed her retirement

Looking back on her sensational career, Kenny admits remaining at the top in sport requires total selfishness.

She also believes she will not find it difficult to watch the Paris Olympics from afar later this year.

“It’s 100 per cent selfish as an athlete. You have to be. I don’t think you can get success if you’re not fully in,” Kenny added.

“Not wanting to go to birthday parties, not wanting to drive to see someone because my training is more important. You are like that, and I’ve lived like that for the last 12 years.

Gold medal winner Laura Kenny of England celebrates on the podium after the women's 10km scratch race final during the Commonwealth Games track cycling at Lee Valley VeloPark in London, Monday, Aug. 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Ian Walton)

Image: Kenny revealed the need for selfishness to succeed at the top level in sport

“People have asked me that [if it will be hard to watch the Paris Olympics], and no, I don’t think so.

“Because I’ve been out of it for a little while now, being pregnant with my second boy, I watched the World Championships, the Nations Cup.

“Because I’ve been watching them, I think I’ve already experienced the missing out.”

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