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Golden cyclist Kenny unmoved by British star status

Monday, 15 August 2016

Britain's Jason Kenny celebrates winning gold in the men's sprint final in Rio de Janeiro on August 14, 2016
Britain’s Jason Kenny celebrates winning gold in the men’s sprint final in Rio de Janeiro on August 14, 2016

Jason Kenny said he felt no different after joining the “five gold medal club” and closing in on British cycling legend Chris Hoy’s national best six Olympic titles.

Kenny proved he was the boss in the current British team, beating room-mate Callum Skinner to retain his Olympic sprint title in Rio on Sunday.

Having also won team sprint gold on Thursday he matched fellow cyclist Bradley Wiggins and former rower Steve Redgrave in second on the all-time British list.

“That’s a nice club to be a part of, the five gold medal club,” said Kenny.

“I’ll just keep my head down now and concentrate on the keirin, and try not to think about anything else.”

The difference between three-time and five-time Olympic champion was lost on Kenny.

“It does feel strange because people keep saying to me I’ve won five now, but I don’t feel any different to the other day when I only had three,” he joked.

Should he add keirin gold to his sizeable collection on Tuesday, he would match Hoy’s Olympic marks in every sense, earning a sixth title, seventh medal and equalling the three gold medals from a single Games that Hoy did in Beijing in 2008.

But he’s not always been successful in that event, despite winning the world title in 2013.

“I’m really hit and miss in the keirin. I wouldn’t be surprised if… I could win it, I could medal but I could also go out in the first round,” said Kenny.

He won the first two legs of the sprint final to dominate his team-mate, just as Hoy had done to him in Beijing in 2008.

– ‘Really boring’ –

Despite sharing a room the night before racing each other for the gold medal, Kenny said nothing was out of the ordinary in his relationship with Skinner on Saturday night.

“(We did) just the same thing we always do: went to dinner, went to bed, got up, had breakfast, had lunch, it’s really boring.

“We’re team-mates, we’ve raced each other a thousand times, what we do at the track has no bearing on anything at home.

“Everyone jokes about it but other than that it doesn’t make any difference.”

Asked what they’d talked about, Kenny said they’d been discussing the other British medal hopefuls.

“Anything and everything. Heptathlon, Greg Rutherford, everything that everyone else is talking about. Andy Murray.”

Despite being a five-time Olympic champion, Kenny doesn’t have a big sponsorship or endorsement deal and he’s not expecting the call to come from British Team Sky to ride in the professional peloton any time soon either.

“It’s just a fact of life that I’ve come to live with now, that I’m not very marketable, which is fine.

“I can’t help being a miserable sod! I’ve learnt to accept that.”

As for Sky, he dismissed that out of hand.

“I’d love to but unfortunately my event’s 200 metres not 200km!”

Kenny and Skinner had both broken the former’s Olympic record from London four years ago for the 200-metre sprint in qualifying.

Skinner had shaved a hundredth of a second off the old mark with a run of 9.703sec, but Kenny then smashed that wit a 9.551.

From there on, the British pair, who won team sprint gold on Thursday alongside Philip Hindes, were totally dominant, barring a blip from Kenny in his semi-final.

The 28-year-old lost the first leg to Russia’s Denis Dmitriev but won the next two to progress to the final.

Dmitriev beat Matthew Glaetzer of Australia for bronze.

Britain have won four of the six gold medals decided so far on the track, with further possibilities in the four remaining events to either match or beat the seven they managed in both Beijing and London.

Source by: AFP

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