Commonwealth Games 2022: Laura Kenny relaxed before return to London velodrome – 10 years on from Olympics

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Laura Kenny does a lap of honour at London 2012
The London velodrome is Laura Kenny’s favorite monitor after her dwelling success at London 2012
Hosts: Lee Valley VeloPark, London Dates: 29 July to 1 August
Protection: Watch dwell on BBC TV with further streams on BBC iPlayer, Pink Button, BBC Sport web site and BBC Sport cellular app.

Opening the door to her Airbnb, Laura Kenny was struck by a robust sense of deja vu.

“Like I might been on this flat earlier than.”

She had, or an actual reproduction at the least, 10 years in the past on the London 2012 Olympics. Virtually precisely a decade on, she has inadvertently rented an residence for the Commonwealth Video games in what was the Olympic athletes’ village.

This time, as an alternative of her then-flatmate Dani King, she’s sharing it together with her dad and mom and son Albie.

Lengthy gone are the restful nights pre-competition. This time round, she’s sharing the mattress with a four-year-old.

“I can not imagine it has been 10 years,” Kenny says of London 2012, the Olympics at which she captured the hearts of the British public together with her first two Olympic golds.

“It is greater than I might ever have imagined was ever going to be potential for me.”

Within the years since, the 30-year-old has gone on to win an extra three Olympic titles and a silver, making her essentially the most profitable British feminine athlete in Olympic historical past. She has seven world titles and 14 European titles, and now goes by the title of Dame.

However on Friday, it is again to the boards on which she rose to prominence when the Commonwealth Video games take over the London velodrome.

Whereas the Video games are being hosted in Birmingham, the monitor biking is within the capital, and Crew England’s Kenny is relishing the chance of a visit down reminiscence lane.

“All the pieces about it, I simply love. Even after I’m strolling down the steps, the scent simply brings again reminiscences,” she stated.

“It’s my favorite monitor and it is at all times going to be. I grew up actually fairly near this velodrome so it is at all times going to really feel like that is my native dwelling monitor.”

Laura Kenny holds up an England flag after winning gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games
Laura Kenny gained factors race gold on the 2014 Commonwealths

Regardless of her bumper crop of medals, Kenny has only one from the Commonwealth Video games – factors race gold from Glasgow 2014, having missed the 2018 version simply months after giving delivery to Albie.

Albie might be watching his mum in motion for the primary time in London, unable to journey to Tokyo final yr to look at each her and pa Jason – a coach for Crew England on the Commonwealths – make it 12 Olympic golds for the Kenny household as a result of Covid-19 restrictions.

“I do not actually know what I am anticipating going into this race,” stated Kenny. “We’ve not actually had that a lot monitor time, actually within the final month I’ve had three classes on the monitor.

“I really feel like earlier than that in all probability would have fearful me and I’d have been sat right here panicked, however I am simply actually excited to exit and race my bike once more.

“I really feel like I’ve obtained actually low expectations and perhaps that appears daft as a result of folks on the skin are going to count on me to cross the end line first, however I really feel in a very relaxed place proper now.

“I am probably not placing any expectation on myself in any respect for this competitors. I am simply glad to be right here.”

‘Biking is one factor, life is one other’

Kenny hadn’t anticipated to be at these Video games. She revealed in April that, after turning into pregnant following final summer time’s Tokyo Video games, she miscarried at 9 weeks in November, then had an ectopic being pregnant in January.

Months on, she talks overtly concerning the change in perspective such a horrific expertise introduced, and the reinforcement of her love for being on two wheels.

“January, for me, was an absolute tipping level. I used to be at breaking level and I believe with out Jason, I might have simply canned all the things,” she stated.

“The plain factor for me to do after I felt that unhappy and that damaged was to simply exit and experience my bike once more.

“As an athlete, you have obtained muscle reminiscence and it simply began to return again, and as soon as I began to get again into the rhythm of issues, I by no means actually thought ‘I am not going to compete’.

“It put a number of issues into perspective. I used to be actually fairly poorly and simply even seeing Jason, the way in which he was round me, simply made me realise I might put my household below a lot stress. Clearly not which means to, however I believe it made us realise that biking is one factor, however life is one other.

“It introduced us again to earth with an enormous thud, nevertheless it did make you assume ‘why am I doing this?’. I take pleasure in it, and that is why I am doing it, and it made me realise that greater than ever.”

Kenny will compete within the workforce pursuit, scratch race and factors race on the Commonwealths however, together with her self-imposed low expectations, she’s going into this competitors with a completely totally different mindset.

“I simply really feel so relaxed about the entire scenario,” she stated.

“I do not know whether or not it’s as a result of I by no means actually thought the Commonwealth Video games was going to be a goal, as a result of we had been planning on having one other toddler by now.

“I really feel extra relaxed than ever. It is virtually bringing extra pleasure. I am so excited simply to get out in entrance of a house crowd once more, as a result of you do not get it that usually, particularly in London.

“I like London.”

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