The great track cyclist Jason Kenny has announced his retirement, where Britain’s most successful Olympic competitor goes over to train.
The 33-year-old revealed on Thursday that he has started working as British Cycling’s podium sprint coach for men and is in charge of several riders who were his teammates until recently.
Kenny’s seventh Olympic gold medal came in keirin at the Tokyo Games last August, 13 years after his first in Beijing.
He had intended to compete at the Paris Olympics in 2024, but Kenny said the chance to coach the British team was too good an opportunity to decline.
“It was not an easy decision,” said Kenny, who is now officially ‘Sir Jason’ after being knighted on Britain’s New Year Honors list.
“I really wanted to continue to Paris, but I squeak quite a lot these days and I always knew I wanted to go in as the coach behind, and this opportunity came.
“I’m a little sorry to be honest because all I have known is to ride and compete, but I’m pretty excited to get stuck in the job.”
He added: “This opportunity may not come here again. If they got a good coach, they could be in the role for potentially 10 years, so I thought I would go for it now … I think if I had not gotten the job I would have done (race) in all likelihood. “
Kenny previously stopped after winning team sprint, individual sprint and keirin gold at the Rio 2016 Olympics, but reversed his decision a year later.
– ‘It was really special’ –
He insisted he got off the bike forever this time.
“Since I got back to it, I’ve really enjoyed it again. So this time I’m totally crazy about it, so now I’m going to quit!”
Kenny is half of one of the sport’s most successful couples, with his wife Laura also an excellent cyclist.
Laura became Britain’s most successful female Olympian when she won her fifth career gold with victory alongside Katie Archibald in Madison, Tokyo.
Kenny said his new role would allow him to spend more time with the couple’s four-year-old son, Albie.
“Athletes’ days off are not really free – you’re planning for the next day,” he said.
“It basically consists of not doing anything too cumbersome and burning right.
“You can not just go and play football with Albie or whatever. Now I think I’ll get less free, but I will be able to enjoy it more,” added Kenny, who has replaced Scott Pollock, who worked as an interim sprint coach following the firing of Kevin Stewart in November 2020.
Kenny said he could not have wished for a better end to his cycling career than taking keirin gold in Tokyo, where he blasted free of the herd and was ahead three laps in his last senior race.
“It was really special. To do it on that bike, the last day of the Olympics, for me it’s a really special moment in time.
“If I could have chosen a day to quit, it would be it.”
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