Team GB's Jason Kenny beat France's Gregory Bauge in the opening two races of the best of three individual sprint event at the 2012 Olympic Games. Kenny had earlier been a controversial choice, following the decision to leave defending champion, Sir Chris Hoy out of the individual sprint event.
London's Olympic Park Velodrome was the scene of Jason Kenny's greatest triumph as a track cyclist; his victory in the individual sprint event over a rider he had struggled to beat in the past proved his controversial selection was justified. At the 2008 Beijing Olympics Kenny, then aged 20, appeared from the Team GB training programs virtually unknown outside cycling circles. A World, and European Junior Champion, Kenny rode to gold in the team sprint, and silver in the individual sprint in Beijing. Riding alongside Kenny in the team sprint was Sir Chris Hoy, the British man who beat Kenny in the individual sprint that year. Hoy and Kenny would reunite at the London Games to take gold in the team sprint with Philip Hinds.
Before the London Olympics the rules for track cycling were changed by the International Cycling Union, in an effort to halt the stranglehold placed on the sport by Team GB in Beijing. A single position was available for each team in each event; meaning either Kenny or Hoy would miss out on selection for the individual sprint event at their home Olympics. Youth, and a career spent under the guidance of Team GB's coaches, worked in Kenny's favor. At 24 compared to Hoy's 36, and the most recent British world champion, Kenny took the individual sprint spot.
Jason Kenny's career has been guided since he was spotted by team GB coaches at a local cycling event. Progressing through junior and adult training programs, Bolton born Kenny has passed through Team GB's talent team, development and academy program, and finally the podium program for elite cyclists. Arriving in the elite program in 2008 he was fast tracked to the Olympic team that year.
Beating France's Gregory Bauge in a major final is also an achievement for Kenny. The pair had raced for the World Championship individual sprint title against each other for the last two years. Bauge won both best of three races, but was stripped of the 2011 title for doping irregularities. Entering the London Olympiad Bauge remained the favorite for the sprint title, before seeing Kenny beat him 2-0 in the final. Following Jas on Kenny's victory, Team GB had taken five gold and one bronze medal from the opening seven events on the track.
Paul Cartmell has been riding in a variety of bicycle disciplines, including road racing, mountain bikes and BMX as an amateur for over twenty years.
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