Britain's greatest ever Olympian? Laura Kenny earns record fifth gold medal

Cyclist Laura Kenny is now Britain's most successful female Olympian

British cyclist Laura Kenny earned a historic fifth Olympic gold medal today as she raced to victory in the madison alongside teammate Katie Archibald.

Today’s race was the first women’s madison at the Olympics – the event had previously featured at the Games between 2000 and 2008 but was removed for London 2012 as it was only available for male cyclists.

Britain’s Kenny and Archibald were dominant throughout the race, recording an incredible 78 points. Denmark finished with silver on 35 and the Russian Olympic Committee claimed bronze with 26.

The victory saw Kenny earn her fifth gold, and sixth Olympic medal overall. In doing so, the 29-year-old joined equestrian star Charlotte Dujardin to lead the table of most medals won by a female British athlete.

Kenny also became Britain’s most successful female Olympian of all-time, the first British woman to achieve a gold medal at three different Olympic Games, and the most successful female cyclist in history.

She could increase her medal tally even further at Tokyo 2020 – Kenny will defend her title in the omnium tomorrow. GiveMeSport Women runs through her incredible Olympic career so far.

Laura Kenny and Katie Archibald won the women's madison at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Five Olympic gold medals

Kenny first reached prominence at London 2012, impressing a home crowd at the velodrome in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. She finished with a gold medal in the team pursuit and omnium. More success came at Rio 2016, where Kenny retained her Olympic titles in both events.

Despite a tricky run-up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Kenny was ready to make history in the Japanese capital. She equalled the medal tally achieved by rower Katherine Grainger after finishing with silver in the team pursuit, before rocketing to the top of the table with victory in the madison.

"I've never wanted to win a medal so much in all my life," Kenny said after the madison.

"I messaged [husband and fellow GB cyclist] Jason and said I feel like my Olympics ends today. I love the team pursuit but I felt relief when it was over because this was the one race I wanted to win – I just feel so relieved."

Laura Kenny earned her first two Olympic gold medals at London 2012

Athlete mother

Kenny is not just inspiring for her performances on the track. She has also become one of Britain’s greatest Olympians while balancing motherhood.

After marrying British teammate Jason Kenny in 2016, Laura Kenny gave birth to their son Albie in 2017. She has spoken out about how she "massively underestimated how hard it would be to juggle both being a parent and us both being athletes", a challenge made harder by COVID-19 lockdowns in the UK.

Kenny revealed she was supported by fellow mum and Olympic champion Jess Ennis-Hill, who advised the cyclist should build her training around Albie rather than the other way round.

Kenny has now proven it is possible to be an elite athlete and a mother, and is sure to be an inspiration to female athletes rising up the ranks.

"All week I've been saying please don't ask me about Albie - I've never missed him so much," she said after the madison.

"But I couldn't do it without these girls. With Katie I feel like I'm racing with a sister - I'm so grateful to have her here and her support. I couldn't have done it without her."

Laura Kenny and Jason Kenny are Olympic athletes and parents News Now - Sport News