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Laura and Jason Kenny: Top facts that you didn't know about the golden couple

Both Jason and Laura Kenny have a shot at becoming Team GB's most-decorated Olympian ever at Tokyo 2020. But did you know the following facts about the cycling star couple?
By ZK Goh

Jason and Laura Kenny are British cycling's golden couple.

And they are widely expected to win more medals at this year's delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in 2021, with both leading the Great Britain squad.

Between them, they have already won 10 Olympic gold medals and one silver in glittering careers – six golds, one silver for Jason since Beijing 2008 and four golds for Laura since London 2012.

The pair, married after the Rio 2016 Games and have a son, Albert, who turns four in August.

As they both prepare for Tokyo 2020, where each of them has the chance to become Great Britain's most-decorated Olympian (a record currently held by Bradley Wiggins with eight medals including five golds), here are some things you may not have known about the Kennys.

1. Both followed family into cycling

Both Kennys got into cycling because their older siblings cycled, too.

Laura, who was born prematurely with a collapsed lung and suffered from asthma, took up cycling alongside older sister Emma Trott – a Commonwealth Games cyclist – when her mother decided to do the sport to lose weight.

In Jason's case, he first started cycling aged three when he borrowed older brother Craig's bike and taught himself how to ride.

Years later, his uncle booked the velodrome at the UK's National Cycling Centre in Manchester and happened to have spare room for Jason and Craig.

Jason's talent was spotted and he joined the British Cycling programme from there, winning his first national title aged just 17.

2. They both have leisure centres named after them

In the United Kingdom, leisure centres are public facilities run by councils for locals to keep fit.

Unsurprisingly for a sporty family, both Jason and Laura have such facilities named after them.

The Jason Kenny Centre in Bolton, Greater Manchester, was re-named in his honour following his double-gold success at London 2012.

Laura, meanwhile, grew up in Cheshunt just north of London, where the Laura Trott Leisure Centre is located.

3. A love of music away from the track

Jason Kenny wasn't just talented at cycling as a youngster.

In addition to excelling at football – he played goalkeeper – as well as showing his competency at cricket and tennis, the younger Jason was also a good keyboard and guitar player.

For her part, Laura's love of music revolves around the songs of American superstar Bruce Springsteen, of whom she has been a fan throughout her life.

Other than music, Jason – like former teammate Chris Hoy before him – is interested in competing in motor racing; Laura spends time on her cross-breed dogs.

4. Don't call them Posh and Becks

The Kennys' success at Rio 2016, followed shortly after by their wedding that September and then the birth of Albert, catapulted them into the hearts and minds of the British public – and the British press, who nicknamed them the "Posh and Becks of cycling".

That's a reference to Victoria and David Beckham, perhaps Britain's most famous celebrity couple of the 1990s and 2000s.

However, speaking to Olympics.com last February before the postponement of the Games, Laura Kenny said: "(It feels) slightly strange, because anyone who knows me and Jason knows that we are absolutely nothing like Posh and Becks!"

You can watch that interview below.

5. Both considered retirement before Tokyo – and Jason actually did

Perhaps surprisingly, both of the Kennys considered hanging up the bike for good before the Tokyo Games.

Indeed, Jason Kenny did for a year, deciding to stop racing after Rio 2016, although he didn't tell anyone.

In a recent interview with the Guardian, Laura said: "Jason just fell out of love with it, almost. But [in 2017] he was watching me train and saying: 'Hang on, if you’re going to do it, maybe I can too.'

"We started doing stuff together in the gym and going swimming and all of a sudden he was like: 'I do miss it.'"

Jason returned to the track in 2018, after regaining his passion for the sport by taking part in local cyclocross races – despite finishing fifth-from-last in one.

"I was going out on the road on the bike, doing sportives, just because I enjoyed doing them," he told the BBC in an interview that January.

"It was about getting the love back: realising I do still enjoy it, and that I don't just do it because we've put it in a planner and the planner says do it.

"I went fully expecting to get my head kicked in. I'm by no means a great cyclo-crosser, but I'm not unfit, and I'm good at riding a bike, obviously, but these guys are really fit and really strong, and they work for a living at the end of the day.

"I found it so inspiring to step out of our bubble and see that - guys and girls, just enjoying it, playing around and getting really muddy. What's not to love about that?"

For Laura, meanwhile, her low point came in 2020 before the coronavirus pandemic hit. She had suffered two major crashes in competition, breaking her shoulder and her arm in the span of a few weeks at a World Cup in January then the World Championships in February.

"[It] made me think: 'Why I am putting myself through this? What's the end game? I'll just get hurt.' I thought I could can this now and that would be it," she told the Guardian.

"I just thought: 'I've had enough.' I was in so much pain and it didn't help that my arm was broken and we didn't even know."

With the Olympics still not yet postponed at the time, Laura Kenny thought her Games were over. After news of the postponement came, she said, "it made me realise I really wanted to go to the Olympics because once it got taken away I was gutted. I was heartbroken.

"But it also meant I had the time to get myself back in the right headspace."