Laura Kenny’s Olympics hopes fade after British Cycling say she has ‘slim chance’

Laura Kenny's Olympics hopes fade after British Cycling say she has 'slim chance'
Laura Kenny, who has struggled off the bike in recent years, may have reached the end of her Olympic cycle - Getty Images/Adrian Dennis

Laura Kenny, Britain’s most successful ever female Olympian, has only a “slim” chance of competing at a fourth Olympics this year in Paris, according to British Cycling.

Performance director Stephen Park was asked on Tuesday to assess Kenny’s prospects of adding to the Olympic golds she won in London, Rio and Tokyo but revealed that the 31-year-old’s hopes are fading after not having raced competitively since 2022.

Kenny suffered a miscarriage in 2021 and required surgery following an ectopic pregnancy in 2022 before giving birth to her second child last year and then announcing plans for a return to track cycling.

“She has a slim chance of being in Paris,” Park admitted. “The time is approaching where she is going to have to be pretty clear about whether she wants it [Olympics] or she will miss the opportunity.

“Nobody knows better than Laura about what you need to do to win a medal in women’s track. The first challenge is for her to be in a position where she feels she is going to be competitive and therefore put her hand up to be selected for events that will allow her to get the UCI points she needs to qualify.

“Then she has to qualify for the team by being competitive in a team that is more competitive than it’s ever been. Both of those are fairly significant hurdles. I’ve got no doubt that, if she felt she was physically and mentally in the right place to make up ground, she would do.”

Kenny must compete at the Nations Cup event in Milton, Canada next month to have any chance of gaining the required UCI points although the world governing body do have the power to make special exceptions.

She is not currently training with the British team, however, and she has been noticeably cautious in assessing her Olympic chances since resuming serious training.

“Obviously, the nice, grand picture that everyone wants to paint is ‘Laura’s going for the Olympics’,” she said in December. “I think I realised when we had the miscarriage and the ectopic, I knew deep down that it would be one hell of a comeback [to return to cycling], obviously delaying it because I still wanted to have another baby.

“I knew that time would be short before the next Olympics and it wasn’t about this big fairytale it was about what my heart so desperately wanted. And it was to have him. I just wanted another one [child].”

She also described the lifestyle for an elite female sportswoman as “really unhealthy” and said that she has had “many conversations” with athletes experiencing Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport, which can lead to missed periods.

Kenny’s absence from Paris would further underline the sense of Olympic transition inside Team GB this summer following what has been a golden era over the past 12 years. Tom Daley, Adam Peaty and Charlotte Dujardin are all expected in Paris but other big names from recent Olympics, not least Kenny’s husband Jason, have either retired or moved onto other priorities.

“We have ongoing and continual dialogue with Laura and we are supporting her in terms of her return to training and she is still optimistic about the world championships [in Denmark in October],” Park said.

Kenny, who is also a seven-time world champion, won team pursuit and omnium golds at London 2012 and Rio 2016 before memorably riding to victory in the Madison alongside Katie Archibald in Tokyo three years ago.

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