February 25, 2024

Paris 2024: Laura Kenny has all the 'mental ingredients' to win the place

Olympic gold medalist Danny Rowe believes Laura Kenny's mental strength will be her biggest asset heading back to Paris 2024.

Kenny, Britain's most decorated Olympian, gave birth to her second son Monty in July and recently revealed plans to continue participating in the Games for a fourth time.

“I know everyone thinks I'm completely crazy when I say that, but if I didn't try, I'd never know,” the 31-year-old said.

Earlier this year, British Cycling's performance director, Stephen Park, said the timely return of the fifth-time Olympic champion would be a “stretch”.

Rowe won gold in the team pursuit alongside Kenny at the 2012 London Games, and she has no doubt her former teammate is equipped to handle the tight shift.

“I wasn't surprised when I heard Laura was aiming for Paris,” said Rue, who was Kenny's maid of honor when she married Jason. “She grew up on a bike – it's just part of her personality.

“It is realistic for her to make Paris; It will be difficult but doable. Laura knows how to work with the right people to put her in the best position to make the choice.”

Since the last Olympics in Tokyo, Kenny suffered a miscarriage at nine weeks and underwent surgery for an ectopic pregnancy two months later.

“We know her ability as a rider, her tactical intelligence, but it's not just that, Laura has all the mental components you could need,” Rowe said. “The biggest challenge is getting back physically again.

The UK Sports Pregnancy Guidelines state that athletes must indicate their intention to return to the same level of training and competition as before pregnancy within six months after giving birth.

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Reports suggest that Kenny will be required to prove himself at the European Championships in January in Apeldoorn, Netherlands in order to gain selection for the Paris Olympics.

To complicate matters, the size of women's endurance teams at the Olympics has been reduced from five to four, although one competitor can move to the track from another discipline.

The games open on July 26, exactly a year and a week after Kenny gave birth to Monty.

“Laura always puts her family first, which is a true trait,” Rowe said. “As an athlete, you have to be really selfish, but she has found a way that she can get the best out of herself while still being the best mother and wife she can be.”

Kenny is one of more than 1,000 elite athletes taking part in the UK National Lottery-funded World Class Programme, allowing them to train full-time, access the world's best coaches and benefit from leading medical support – vital on her way. to Paris.

Rowe, a mother of two, chose the opposite career path to Kenny, with whom she won three world titles, and chose to start a family after retiring in 2018.

“For me, personally, I didn’t feel like I would be able to be selfish anymore,” Rowe said. “I felt like I was being very selfish as an athlete, towards friends, family and my husband Matt.

“I didn't think I could split things up, I just wanted to be a mum and I felt so lucky to have achieved everything I ever dreamed of on the bike. I was ready for the next chapter.”

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