Dame Laura Kenny given only ‘slim chance’ of competing at Paris Olympics

By Sports Desk March 05, 2024

Five-time Olympic champion Dame Laura Kenny has only a “slim chance” of competing at the Paris Games this summer, according to British Cycling performance director Stephen Park.

Britain’s most successful female Olympian outlined her ambition to compete at a fourth career Games last November, only a few months after giving birth to her son Monty in July, her second child with husband and seven-time Olympic champion Sir Jason Kenny.

The 31-year-old admitted then it would be a tall order to get back up to speed in time and, as she has not raced competitively since the arrival of Monty, she does not yet have the points required to qualify for Paris, let alone earn selection for a squad that won the world team pursuit title last year.


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With Kenny not in the frame to compete at this month’s Nations Cup in Hong Kong, her final chance to earn those points would come at the final round in Milton, Canada, in April.

“She has a slim chance of being in Paris,” Park said. “The first challenge is for her to be in a position where she feels she is going to be competitive and… put her hand up to be selected for events that would allow her to qualify herself, as well as to qualify in the team.

“Both of those are fairly significant hurdles because you need to get to the right events on the individual level to qualify and secondly she’s got to be competitive in a team that’s more competitive than it’s ever been.”

Kenny is yet to return to regular training at the Manchester velodrome as she follows her own programme and Park said the more likely target for her would be the UCI Track World Championships in Denmark in October.

“We’ve got ongoing and continuing dialogue with Laura and we are supporting her and have been supporting her in terms of her return to training,” he added. “She is still optimistic around the World Championships as the primary event and that was what she has always said she would do.

“The first big piece is her having the confidence she can get to the place. Nobody knows better than Laura what you have to do to win a medal in women’s track and I’ve no doubt if she was going to put her mind to it and felt she was physically and mentally in the right place to make that she would do.”

Kenny won Olympic gold in both the team pursuit and omnium at the London and Rio Olympics. In Tokyo, four years after the birth of her first son Albie, Kenny won a fifth Olympic gold in the Madison alongside Katie Archibald, having also won team pursuit silver.

At last year’s World Championships in Glasgow, Archibald teamed up with Elinor and Meg Barker, Josie Knight and Anna Morris to win gold in the team pursuit and they will head to Paris among the favourites to take the title.

“(Kenny) knows what she needs to do to be competitive and ride at the pace, with the efforts, that she needs to be competitive,” Park said.

“But she’s also conscious as well that she’s getting back into the place and she doesn’t want to be in a situation where she’s affecting the training of the others.

“She’s really conscious of the progress the others are making too and she wants to make sure as and when she’s ready… she is in a place to step into that environment and not hold the others back.”

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