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After a successful career in cycling, Laura Kenny announces her retirement to prioritize her family. She expresses feeling a sense of relief about her decision.
Cycling Sport

After a successful career in cycling, Laura Kenny announces her retirement to prioritize her family. She expresses feeling a sense of relief about her decision.

Laura Kenny, the most accomplished female British Olympian, has declared her retirement from the sport of cycling. Despite her plans to participate in the upcoming Paris Olympics, the 31-year-old has shared with BBC her choice to conclude her remarkable career.

Kenny mentioned that her top focus is being with her spouse, Jason, who holds the record for most medals won by a British Olympian, and their two kids. She welcomed their first child, Albie, in 2017, but considered retiring in 2021 due to a miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy. Their second son, Monty, was born in the previous year.

The declaration marks the conclusion of an extraordinary journey in the world of cycling that began from difficult beginnings, as she was born prematurely with a collapsed lung. As a child, her parents were advised to introduce her to the sport in order to improve her lung function.

During an interview on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, Kenny revealed that the challenges she faced while trying to have a second child had a greater impact on her decision than she initially realized. She openly discussed her experience with a miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy, which may have influenced her decision more than she anticipated.

I always wished for Albie to have a sibling. I always saw Albie as an older brother…Then when Monty arrived and I had another child, I didn’t want to miss out on that time.

Kenny told the BBC that balancing competing and motherhood with two young boys at home has ultimately led her to decide to retire at this moment.

“I am relieved to be truthful,” she stated. “I have been thinking about this for some time now, but I only made the decision 10 days ago. Now that it’s out in the open, I can discuss it and it’s quite pleasant.”

I experienced a persistent unease in my stomach, with thoughts like “Why are you leaving your children to go there, if you don’t want to?” I realized that I no longer enjoyed biking and was only doing it out of habit. The overwhelming gut feeling confirmed my decision to stop.

Kenny revealed that after having her second child, she took a moment to evaluate what really matters to her. She mentioned, “My baby, Monty, will be eight months old tomorrow and I can’t believe how fast time has flown by. I’ve been present for every milestone.”

Perhaps I didn’t fully appreciate Albie in the past – how effortless it was to have him around. Everything seemed simple at the time, and I could simply ask my parents to help care for him. But this time, I didn’t want to rely on others. I wanted to be the one taking care of him and not miss a moment.

When questioned about Lily Allen’s recent comments about how having two children has negatively impacted her music career, Kenny shared that someone had asked him if having children was worth it and if he could balance both a career and a family.

Laura Kenny and her husband, Jason, pose with their gold medals at the Rio Olympics in 2016.View image in fullscreen

I believe I could have achieved it, but ultimately, I had to consider if it was worth it because my happiness was at stake and the situation was chaotic.

“I experienced utter chaos while bringing Albie on a global journey and competing in the Tokyo Olympics.”

Kenny became well-known during the 2012 London Olympics, where she achieved first place in both the team pursuit and the omnium events. She then once again achieved this double victory at the Rio Games in 2016. Despite the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 due to the Covid pandemic, Kenny won a silver medal in the team pursuit and a gold medal with Katie Archibald in the women’s madison event.

She holds the title of seven-time world champion and 14-time European champion, achieved success in two Commonwealth Games, and was crowned the British National Road Race champion in 2014.

Stephen Park, the performance director for the Great Britain team, praised Kenny by stating, “Laura is not only one of the top riders in the sport, but also one of the most talented athletes our nation has ever seen.”

During a recent month, Park informed that Kenny’s chances of participating in this year’s Olympics were slim due to a highly competitive team.

In the 2021 New Year Honours, Kenny was honored with the title of dame. She aspires to participate in some way at the Paris Olympics this summer and wishes to stay connected to the British cycling team.

“I am not committed to anything yet, but there are some things that greatly interest me,” she stated. “Perhaps a program or institution aimed at assisting the younger generation. I would not be able to be a coach as that would be too overwhelming for me, but I could potentially contribute in a supportive role to help provide the same opportunities I had.”

Source: theguardian.com