Laura Kenny became Team GB’s first female Olympian to win gold at three separate Games, as she and Katie Archibald showed complete dominance to triumph in the first-ever women’s Olympic Madison.
Kenny already had back-to-back omnium and team pursuit golds from London and Rio, as well as a team pursuit silver from earlier at Tokyo 2020, in her locker and added Olympic title number five in style at the Izu Velodrome.
The 120-lap women’s Madison made a dramatic debut as the high-paced, chaotic action on the boards featured riders hand-slinging each other forward and crashes aplenty.
But Kenny and Archibald kept themselves out of trouble and won a truly remarkable 10 of the 12 sprints that occur at ten-lap intervals, including the final double points dash for the line, and also took a lap on the rest of the field to build an unbeatable total score of 78 points.
For Kenny, who won her first Olympic title since giving birth to son Albie in 2017, this moment was all the more special.
Kenny, 29, from Cheshunt, said: “It’s unbelievable. I’m just so glad. I’ve never wanted to win a race so badly in all my life.
“That was the one. I messaged Jason this morning and said, ‘I feel like my Olympics ends today.’
“The one race I really wanted to do was this and we went and did it.
“I’ve never missed Albie so much in all my life. I kept saying to people, ‘please don’t ask me about Albie’.
“I couldn’t have done it without these girls. It’s so hard leaving him at home but to have Katie there the whole time, I just feel like I’m racing with a sister and I couldn’t have done it if we didn’t have that relationship.”
Their main rivals, two-time reigning world champion Dutch pair Kirsten Wild and Amy Pieters, were Team GB’s closest competitors early on but a nasty crash for Wild just ahead of sprint number six slowed them somewhat.
They then later lost a lap to their medal rivals to finish fourth as Denmark took silver on 35 points, with the Russian Olympic Committee (26) in bronze.
But there was no stopping the dominant British duo, whose place in history is secure as the first women’s Madison Olympic champions.
Archibald, meanwhile, now has two Olympic titles to her name having also won team pursuit gold with Kenny, Elinor Barker and Joanna Rowsell Shand at Rio 2016.
Archibald, 27, from Milngavie, said: “I’ve never wanted something so much and I’ve never been so nervous.
“We’ve been really clinical in our approach to this, none of this would have happened without Monica [Greenwood]. We had a change of coach last year, totally overhauled our entire approach to this event.
“I feel like we’re going after the all-round at this track Olympics spreading between Madison and omnium and it feels so satisfying for it to come off. I’ve never wanted something so much.
“My mum is one for turning into the sofa rather than the racing. It’s always scarier on the sidelines than in the action, in the action you get the reward.”
Kenny now joins Sir Steve Redgrave, Sir Bradley Wiggins, Sir Chris Hoy and her husband, Jason Kenny, as the only British Olympians with at least five gold medals and will go for number six in the women’s omnium on Sunday.