Laura Kenny in white cycling kit on her track bike waves to the crowd with a smile on her face
Credit: SWPix

Britain’s most successful female Olympian, Dame Laura Kenny, has announced her retirement from the Great Britain Cycling Team, bringing down the curtain on an illustrious career spanning five Olympic and seven world titles.

Having shown prodigious talent from a young age riding with Welwyn Wheelers, Kenny won her first European title at just 18-years-old in the team pursuit in 2010, and her first world title in the same event the following year. In the run up to the 2012 Olympic Games Kenny won two more world and European titles in the team pursuit and omnium, securing her place in the Team GB squad as London 2012 fever swept the nation.

Kenny’s London heroics captured the heart of the nation, as she blazed to two gold medals at just 20 years of age. Alongside Dani Rowe MBE and Joanna Rowsell MBE, Kenny broke the team pursuit world record to take gold over the USA, before showing exceptional skill and maturity once more to secure victory in the omnium three days later.

She repeated the double four years later in Rio, winning the team pursuit alongside Rowsell, Katie Archibald MBE and Elinor Barker MBE, and dominating the omnium once more with victories in three of the six events.

After the birth of her first son, Albie, in 2017, Kenny showed her famous grit and determination to get back to full fitness for the postponed Tokyo Olympic Games.

At the event she was part of another world record-breaking quartet which won silver in the team pursuit, before Kenny made history once more alongside Katie Archibald by winning gold in the women’s Madison, being crowned the first female Olympic champions in the event.

With that medal Kenny became Britain’s most successful female Olympian and the first British woman to win golds at three consecutive Olympic Games. She was subsequently awarded a damehood in the 2022 New Year Honours list.

On her time with the Great Britain Cycling Team, Dame Laura Kenny said: “British Cycling has been my second family since 2010. I had never moved away from home before and every single member of the team took me under their wing and made me feel at home.

“I have been through every step of British Cycling’s pathway and I am so thankful for all the support they have given me over the years. Not only has British Cycling played a huge role in my professional career, it was also where I met my husband, Jason. They supported us into parenthood together and for that I couldn’t be more grateful.

“I will of course miss riding my bike, but I will miss the staff members and my team mates more. From lunch in with the mechanics to endless laps with the best teammates in the world; everyone at British cycling, I thank you. We did this together.”

Paying tribute to Kenny, Great Britain Cycling Team Performance Director, Stephen Park CBE, said: “Laura hangs up her wheels as not just one of the sport’s greatest riders, but as one of the greatest sporting talents our country has ever produced.

“All who have had the pleasure of watching Laura compete will pay witness to her peerless combination of craft and determination, which propelled her to become Britain’s most successful female Olympian and the first British woman to win gold medals at three consecutive Olympic Games.

“Just as impressive, however, is the impact which Laura has had on her fellow riders on the Great Britain Cycling Team and the next generation of Olympic hopefuls. She has been a beacon of inspiration for so many, young and old, and I’m sure that the entire British cycling community will join me in wishing her the very best in the next chapter of her life.

“From Welwyn Wheelers and our talent pathway to the very top of the sport, we’re so proud of everything that she has achieved, and I’m sure she will continue to be one of our team’s biggest supporters for many years to come.”