Tokyo 2020: Team GB's Jason Kenny wins seventh gold to become most successful British Olympian
Jason Kenny has become the most decorated British Olympian ever, winning his seventh gold medal with victory in the men's keirin final in Izu.
On the last day of the Tokyo games, Team GB's Kenny claimed gold in the keirin final after making an early move to leave the leading pack trailing.He rode away from the field to win by a yawning gap of 0.763 seconds from Azizulhasni Awang of Malaysia.
The victory came as Lauren Price became the first Welsh fighter to win an Olympic boxing gold medal, having beat China's Li Qian in the women's middleweight final.
It all means Team GB matched their medal haul from the 2012 games in London, collecting their 65th on the final day.
Kenny has won gold at four consecutive Games, taking his first title in the team sprint in Beijing, before winning team and individual sprints at both London and Rio in addition to the keirin crown five years ago.
In praise of his sporting prowess, Boris Johnson described him as "the greatest British Olympian ever".
It also makes Kenny the first Briton to win nine Olympic medals as he adds it to the team sprint silver he took on Tuesday alongside Jack Carlin and Ryan Owens.
With nine Olympic medals now to his name, Sunday's win means Kenny overtakes former cyclist Sir Chris Hoy as the most successful British Olympian.
Sir Chris clinched six golds, while Bradley Wiggins, the 2012 Tour de France winner, and Kenny's wife Laura have won five.
“Seven gold medals is really special, when you look back on the ones you have already got it seems pretty easy,” Kenny said.
“Then when you try and get more, you remember how hard it is. “It is easy to forget the hard work that goes into it. I have been disappointed this week, I haven’t been as competitive as I wanted to be. But in the keirins you can race hard and ride your luck a little bit… “Before today I had all but given up, I was counting my career in days and races as opposed to years, but maybe I have bought myself more time now.”
Perhaps Kenny’s rivals had been guilty of listening too closely to the downbeat assessment of his physical condition after he finished eighth in the individual sprint competition. Australia’s Matthew Glaetzer let go of his wheel before the derny had even pulled off, with the others too busy looking at one another to realise that Kenny had already gone. The 33-year-old checked over his shoulder and saw the advantage he had, charging away and building what proved to be an unassailable lead. His team-mate Jack Carlin, who missed out on a place in the final and had just earned eight place overall, watched on open-mouthed from the track centre as Kenny simply rode alone, in a different race to the other five men on track.
Kenny could have been forgiven for taking his eye off the ball in this event, with his warm-ups for the quarter-finals earlier on Sunday morning interrupted when his wife Laura crashed heavily in the opening scratch race of the women’s omnium and was slow to get up. Though Laura recovered to win the following tempo race, her medal hopes suffered a major blow with an early exit from the elimination race and she eventually finished outside the podium places in sixth, never able to truly get back into the mix after that opening crash.
But she was full of praise for her husband on Sunday, saying it was “just typical” of him to pull off the win and become the most decorated British Olympian in history.
“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.”