Laura Kenny defied another sleepless night to win her second gold medal at the European Championships in Glasgow with victory in the women’s elimination race.
Motherhood and medals do not always mix and the quadruple Olympic champion was served a timely reminder of her priorities by baby son Albie at the flat she shares with husband and fellow track star Jason Kenny on Saturday night.
“I was up five times – and he didn’t actually fall asleep until nine o’clock, the little sod,” laughed Kenny, after seeing off Germany’s Anna Knauer in the final head to head for her 12th career continental gold.
“But you get used to it. I don’t even feel like I’ve had a lack of sleep any more – I just come in and get on with it.”
All evidence suggests the 26-year-old’s new work-life balance is serving her well, having won her first Glasgow gold as part of the GB team pursuit squad, with the prospect of the madison alongside Scot Katie Archibald to come.
Both her dominant performance and her evident enthusiasm for her new role bode well for the long haul towards Tokyo 2020, and is a position Kenny never thought she would face when she was called up for her first European Championships in Poland in 2010. A late replacement for the injured Joanna Rowsell-Shand, a then 18-year-old Kenny marked her senior GB debut in Pruszkow with a gold medal as part of the team pursuit squad.
“Poland was the beginning for me,” added Kenny. “If you’d asked me then if I’d be a mum with four Olympic and 12 European gold medals I would have said no, that’s not the way my life is going to pan out.
“Pre-Rio I used to go home if I’d had a bad session and that was all I would think about, whereas now I’m making sure Albie’s not pulling the wires out of the wall or sticking things in plug sockets, rather than thinking about riding around in circles.”
Kenny will have her chance to complete a hat-trick of Glasgow gold medals when she teams up with Archibald in the madison when the track programme concludes tomorrow.
Wakefield’s Ollie Wood begins his attempt for madison glory alongside Ethan Hayter in qualifying today.