Jason Kenny takes sixth gold medal in dramatic keirin win in Rio

Cycling Track - Men's Keirin Victory Ceremony

Sir Chris Hoy has tipped Jason Kenny to add to his tally of gold medals after the 28-year-old from Bolton equalled his British record of six by winning the keirin.

In an almost unbearably tense final Kenny managed to hold his nerve and take his third medal at these Olympics, adding to the titles he won in the team and individual sprints.

Twice the race was stopped after riders appeared to break the rules by passing the motorised derny as it left the track. Kenny, along with the Malaysian Azizulhasni Awang, were the first culprits and the world keirin champion, Germany’s Joachim Eilers, was responsible for the second stoppage.

The judges took painfully long to decide that the race should be restarted on both occasions, with all six competitors. It was third time lucky and Kenny kept his cool to cross the line ahead of Matthijs Buchli of the Netherlands, and Awang in the bronze-medal position.

Kenny’s fiancee, Laura Trott, still flushed after winning her own fourth gold medal in the omnium, rushed to congratulate him and received a big, sweaty kiss. She seemed relieved as much as excited; she had looked close to throwing up earlier when officials were dithering over whether to disqualify Kenny after his derny-passing transgression.

Kenny insisted the right decision had been made. “Usually when they shoot the gun it means someone has got disqualified and I know it was really tight between me and Awang, and Eilers wasn’t far behind. Ultimately it was the right decision. It was ridiculously tight and someone was a bit trigger-happy today,” he said.

Hoy was 36 when he won his sixth and final gold medal in the keirin at the London Games. Kenny, described this week as “Britain’s most underrated sportsman” by Cycling Weekly magazine, did not contest that race because of a short-lived “one nation, one rider” rule in the competition. He is expected to return for at least one more Olympics, raising the distinct possibility he could become the most successful British Olympian of all time, come Tokyo.

Talking on BBC Radio 5 Live on Tuesday, Hoy said Kenny had plenty left in the tank: “He can absolutely go on to win more. If he keeps his focus, manages the years in between and stays injury free, he could go on for two, three more Olympic Games. He could be Britain’s Michael Phelps.”

Sir Bradley Wiggins also believes Kenny can keep winning. Speaking on Saturday after bagging his own fifth gold with GB’s team pursuit squad, Wiggins said that Kenny, a notoriously poor timekeeper in his personal life, could carry on until the 2024 Games “if he can be bothered to get out of bed after the Olympics .”

“He could end up with 12 gold medals by the next two Olympiads,” Wiggins said.

Trott, James and Kenny enjoy glorious night at the velodrome – video

Asked what it meant to have matched Hoy’s record, Kenny said: “I was in Beijing when Chris rocketed to stardom … To be doing the same thing eight years later is amazing. It’s an incredible feeling.”

Keirin, known to non-experts as “the one with the man on the motorbike”, is not even Kenny’s speciality and he had not won a major keirin final since the 2013 world championships in Minsk. At this year’s worlds in London he came sixth; last year he was a pretty miserable 13th.

Bolton named a leisure centre after their local hero following the last Olympics, when he won golds in the individual and team sprints. It remains to be seen how the town will celebrate Kenny’s latest triumphs , though if Fred Dibnah , the Boltonian steeplejack, can have a statue then surely Kenny warrants some sort of memorial.

The Paralympic cyclist Dame Sarah Storey and her husband, Barney, have a sculpture honouring their combined 14 gold medals in Disley, Stockport.

The quiet man of Team GB, Kenny looked mortified when a group of women in the crowd started shouting: “Jason, we love you!” through a megaphone after the race. He would not even turn to look at them and instead sloped back to the Team GB enclosure.

Callum Skinner, Kenny’s colleague in the gold-winning team sprint squad, credits Kenny with keeping everyone calm. “Jason’s quite good for taking off the pressure. He’s has a ‘whatever will be, will be’ mentality and that’s quite nice,” said Skinner on Tuesday, after being knocked out in an early keirin round.

With 10 Olympic golds between them now, Trott and Kenny look set to continue as Team GB’s golden couple. Having gone public with their romance at the London Olympics when they were caught snogging when watching the beach volleyball, they have managed to stay together despite the immense pressures on their young shoulders.

Kenny’s unassuming nature has its downsides, not least for his bank balance. Though he has more medals than Trott he appears happy for her to steal the limelight. “Basically Laura earns lots of money and I don’t,” he said once.

While Trott is paid to advertise sofas and leggings he had no commercial endorsements coming in to Rio. “It used to frustrate me a little bit seeing guys getting cars and bits and pieces like that, but the way it’s ended up I’m really happy with. I like to fly under the radar a little bit and be able to live my life. It’s not like I’m starving to death,” he said.

Asked if he thought his life would change now that he has six gold medals, Kenny was true to form: “I hope not.”

Twice the race was stopped after riders appeared to break the rules by passing the motorised derny as it left the track. Kenny, along with the Malaysian Azizulhasni Awang, were the first culprits and the world keirin champion, Germany’s Joachim Eilers, was responsible for the second stoppage.

The judges took painfully long to decide that the race should be restarted on both occasions, with all six competitors. It was third time lucky and Kenny kept his cool to cross the line ahead of Matthijs Buchli of the Netherlands, and Awang in the bronze-medal position.

Kenny’s fiancee, Laura Trott, still flushed after winning her own fourth gold medal in the omnium, rushed to congratulate him and received a big, sweaty kiss. She seemed relieved as much as excited; she had looked close to throwing up earlier when officials were dithering over whether to disqualify Kenny after his derny-passing transgression.

Kenny insisted the right decision had been made. “Usually when they shoot the gun it means someone has got disqualified and I know it was really tight between me and Awang, and Eilers wasn’t far behind. Ultimately it was the right decision. It was ridiculously tight and someone was a bit trigger-happy today,” he said.

Hoy was 36 when he won his sixth and final gold medal in the keirin at the London Games. Kenny, described this week as “Britain’s most underrated sportsman” by Cycling Weekly magazine, did not contest that race because of a short-lived “one nation, one rider” rule in the competition. He is expected to return for at least one more Olympics, raising the distinct possibility he could become the most successful British Olympian of all time, come Tokyo.

Talking on BBC Radio 5 Live on Tuesday, Hoy said Kenny had plenty left in the tank: “He can absolutely go on to win more. If he keeps his focus, manages the years in between and stays injury free, he could go on for two, three more Olympic Games. He could be Britain’s Michael Phelps.”

Sir Bradley Wiggins also believes Kenny can keep winning. Speaking on Saturday after bagging his own fifth gold with GB’s team pursuit squad, Wiggins said that Kenny, a notoriously poor timekeeper in his personal life, could carry on until the 2024 Games “if he can be bothered to get out of bed after the Olympics .”

“He could end up with 12 gold medals by the next two Olympiads,” Wiggins said.

Trott, James and Kenny enjoy glorious night at the velodrome – video

Asked what it meant to have matched Hoy’s record, Kenny said: “I was in Beijing when Chris rocketed to stardom … To be doing the same thing eight years later is amazing. It’s an incredible feeling.”

Keirin, known to non-experts as “the one with the man on the motorbike”, is not even Kenny’s speciality and he had not won a major keirin final since the 2013 world championships in Minsk. At this year’s worlds in London he came sixth; last year he was a pretty miserable 13th.

Bolton named a leisure centre after their local hero following the last Olympics, when he won golds in the individual and team sprints. It remains to be seen how the town will celebrate Kenny’s latest triumphs , though if Fred Dibnah , the Boltonian steeplejack, can have a statue then surely Kenny warrants some sort of memorial.

The Paralympic cyclist Dame Sarah Storey and her husband, Barney, have a sculpture honouring their combined 14 gold medals in Disley, Stockport.

The quiet man of Team GB, Kenny looked mortified when a group of women in the crowd started shouting: “Jason, we love you!” through a megaphone after the race. He would not even turn to look at them and instead sloped back to the Team GB enclosure.

Callum Skinner, Kenny’s colleague in the gold-winning team sprint squad, credits Kenny with keeping everyone calm. “Jason’s quite good for taking off the pressure. He’s has a ‘whatever will be, will be’ mentality and that’s quite nice,” said Skinner on Tuesday, after being knocked out in an early keirin round.

With 10 Olympic golds between them now, Trott and Kenny look set to continue as Team GB’s golden couple. Having gone public with their romance at the London Olympics when they were caught snogging when watching the beach volleyball, they have managed to stay together despite the immense pressures on their young shoulders.

Kenny’s unassuming nature has its downsides, not least for his bank balance. Though he has more medals than Trott he appears happy for her to steal the limelight. “Basically Laura earns lots of money and I don’t,” he said once.

While Trott is paid to advertise sofas and leggings he had no commercial endorsements coming in to Rio. “It used to frustrate me a little bit seeing guys getting cars and bits and pieces like that, but the way it’s ended up I’m really happy with. I like to fly under the radar a little bit and be able to live my life. It’s not like I’m starving to death,” he said.

Asked if he thought his life would change now that he has six gold medals, Kenny was true to form: “I hope not.”

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