Sir Jason and Dame Laura almost missed New Year Honours email deadline amid parking ticket confusion
The couple recall how they almost missed out on their damehood and knighthood
Sir Jason and Dame Laura Kenny have revealed to ITV News that they accidentally ignored an email offering them a knighthood and a damehood after mixing up the response date with that of a parking ticket.
The Olympic gold medalists were amongst a host of athletes to be recognised in the 2022 New Year Honours list.
It comes after a year in which the pair’s performances saw them become Britain’s most decorated Olympian and most successful female Olympian respectively, after boosting their medal totals in Tokyo.
Jason claimed silver in the team sprint and a keirin gold, while Laura won team pursuit silver and produced a dominant display to win the women’s Madison.
With nine Olympic medals now to his name, Kenny overtook the previous record of six golds set by fellow keirin specialist Chris Hoy during the Tokyo Games.
Meanwhile, Laura holds the crown as Britain’s most successful female athlete, winning gold in the first ever Olympic women's cycling madison with teammate Katie Archibald.
Other notable appointments include knighthoods for the the medical chiefs leading the UK's fight against Covid, as well as former Labour prime minister Tony Blair.
Sir Jason and Dame Laura told ITV News how they had to keep their honours a secret for around three weeks - but when they first received an email offering them each a knighthood and a damehood, they confused the response date with that of a parking ticket and almost missed the deadline.
Sir Jason told ITV News: "We got confused with the date because I got a parking ticket at the same time and I had to pay the parking ticket before the 14th... So we got a bit confused with our response dates.
"So we had a phone call - it was a funny phone call. The lady on the end was very nice and said 'could you let us know before the weekend because we've got to tell the prime minister and the Queen about it'.
"I was like, well, best not to keep them waiting!"
The pair, who have 12 gold medals between them, are now understood to be the first couple to receive the accolades together.
Despite the mix-up, Dame Laura said she was "stupidly excited" to receive the news, while her husband described it as a "very surreal" moment.
She said: "Every time we step on the track it's to try and win a medal. Any other accolade, you never strive to get, but when you do get it, it just shows that people are appreciating the hard work you are putting in on the track. It just feels incredible to be recognised for that.
"You never in your childhood dreams think you're going to be a dame or a sir.
"I just love the Royal Family and I love the fact that the Palace is just, well to me, Britain," she added.
Sir Jason said he and his wife are lucky they get to share not only the Olympics together, but now their new accolades, adding: "To get to share honours is very, very special."
Asked if he has a new found respect for his wife given her dame title, Jason replied: "I don't think I could have any more respect for Laura."
"I don't think I could have any more respect for Laura"
And the pair joked how their four-year-old son Albie definitely won't be treating them any differently.
Dame Laura laughed: "He said to me the other day: 'You don't work mummy you just ride round in circles'."
"You don't work mummy you just ride round in circles"
She also spoke about the importance of sport and said that whether you're an athlete or not, having time to yourself to exercise is really important for everyone.
"When we first had Albie, as a mum I felt like I was consumed by the fact I was at home with him and feeding him and the one thing that made me feel normal was going into the gym and having 45 minutes for just me," she said.
"I was having that time out that I felt like I really needed and it made feel normal, which then when I got back into the house, just made me a better person."
Watch the interview with ITV News' Arts Editor Nina Nannar in full:
Looking ahead to Paris 2024, the pair said they don't yet know if they will compete.
Sir Jason said: "We honestly don't have an answer... It's such a long way away but in the world of sport it moves quite quickly.
"At the minute, we're starting to build back up into a bit of volume, a bit of training, and I guess if that leads to us being good and back in the team we could find ourselves in the team.'
"But for me, it seems such a long way from where I am personally," he laughed.
Laura added: "From the outside world people think because they've done it before then they just get selected, but we have to go through the whole selection criteria. Once you've had your break you're starting from scratch, so it's the people underneath you've got to hope don't get much better so you can stay in the team.
"If we get selected then we'll probably go," she added.
Responding to the announcement, Great Britain Cycling Team Performance Director Stephen Park CBE said: “Not only are Jason and Laura true masters of their craft, they are also wonderful team-mates, role models and ambassadors for our sport.
"I’m personally delighted that their remarkable performances have been recognised in the New Year Honours list and they should both be incredibly proud of what they have achieved.