Laura Kenny was surprised at husband Jason’s victory in the men’s keirin final at the Tokyo Olympics but said it was “just typical” of him to pull off the win and become the most decorated British Olympian in history.
Jason had complained of being out of form during the men’s sprint earlier this week but on Sunday rode away from the field to win by a yawning gap of 0.763 seconds from Azizulhasni Awang of Malaysia.
The triumph gave him a seventh Olympic gold medal, moving him one ahead of former British cycling great Chris Hoy.
Laura, Great Britain’s most successful female athlete with five golds, said even she was not sure Jason could win gold at four consecutive Games.
“The amount of people who came up to me afterwards and were like ‘I’d have counted him out of this’ – and to be honest, so had I!” she told BBC Sport.
“I was speaking to him last night and he was like, ‘I just want to go home’. Then obviously he won – just typical Jason, that.”
The global body for the sport, Union Cycliste Internationale, tweeted the achievement was “incredible” after the triumph.
Jason, who now has nine Olympic medals, described the achievement as “really special”.
“Seven gold medals is really special, when you look back on the ones you have already got it seems pretty easy,” he said.
“Then when you try and get more, you remember how hard it is.”
Speaking about their son Albie, he said: “I hope he’s in bed. He should be in bed really.
“He’s been getting into it a little bit now. He’s three, going on four.
“He likes watching it on the telly, so that’s nice.”
Kenny was also praised by Prime Minister Boris Johnson who wrote on Twitter: “This is magnificent. Jason Kenny – the greatest British Olympian ever.”
Jason could have been forgiven for taking his eye off the ball in the event, with his warm-ups for the quarter-finals earlier in the day interrupted when Laura crashed heavily in the opening scratch race of the women’s omnium.
She recovered to win the following run-off in the multi-race event, but eventually finished outside the podium places in sixth.
Having claimed gold with Katie Archibald in the madison earlier in these, her third Olympics, Laura Kenny was later chosen to carry Team GB’s flag at the closing ceremony later on Sunday, which she described as “an absolute honour”.
Laura said: “The past 18 months have been tough for everyone, and I really hope me and my Team GB teammates have given the nation something to celebrate.
“It hasn’t quite sunk in that I am now Britain’s most successful female athlete, all I know is that I’ve worked so hard to be here and I couldn’t have done it without the support of my family, friends and everyone at British Cycling.”
Andrew Brown, a club member and chair of the committee at Welwyn Wheelers where Laura started racing as a child, said it will be “amazing” to see her as the flagbearer.
Asked what it will mean to the club, he told the PA news agency: “I think we’ve gotten to the point of not being surprised by what Laura does because her whole career has been just an absolute fairytale.
“If you’d written the script you wouldn’t have believed it.
“What Laura does next is anybody’s guess, and it will be lovely to see her tonight carrying the flag.”
Meanwhile, there was also success for boxer Lauren Price, who took home gold with victory in the women’s middleweight final against China’s Li Qian.
Price had been stretched to her limit last time out against Nouchka Fontijn, edging out her Dutch rival on a wafer-thin split decision, but there was no such drama in Sunday’s final.
The 27-year-old from Wales was able to use her superior lateral movement to confound Li, getting in and out of range at will to control the tempo throughout to claim a unanimous points win.
Price’s win adds to an impressive sporting resume. She has played international football for Wales, represented the country at different age levels in netball and taekwondo, and won world, European and British titles in kickboxing.
Kellie Harrington earlier claimed gold for Ireland in the women’s lightweight category after a unanimous decision victory over Brazil’s Beatriz Ferreira in a hard-fought final at the Kokugikan Arena.
The 31-year-old’s triumph marked the first time Ireland have won two gold medals in two different sports at the same Olympics, with rowers Fintan McCarthy and Paul O’Donovan also triumphing in the men’s lightweight double sculls.
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