Jason Kenny became Team GB’s most successful Olympian of all time with the seventh, and arguably best, gold medal of his glittering career.
Kenny – who was deadlocked with Sir Chris Hoy on six golds and Sir Bradley Wiggins on eight medals – defended his keirin title in a stunning race at the Izu Velodrome to become the first Team GB athlete to win nine Olympic medals.
He sprung clear from his rivals with three laps to go and hammered down the power, catching them all napping and opening up a huge advantage.
By the last lap they were closing fast but Kenny was sniffing history and smelling the finish line.
Kenny, competing at his fourth Games, admitted before arriving in Japan he didn’t know what to expect from these Olympics.
But this is a stage made for the 33-year old – now on a plinth all of his own on the pantheon of Team GB legend.
Kenny, 33, from Bolton, said: “Seven gold medals is really special, when you look back on the ones you have already got it seems pretty easy. Then when you try and get more, you remember how hard it is.
“It is easy to forget the hard work that goes into it. I have been disappointed this week, I haven’t been as competitive as I wanted to be. But in the keirins you can race hard and ride your luck a little bit.
“I couldn’t believe no-one came past, I felt like I was standing still at the end, I was hacking away into the final corner, but just kept telling myself it is a medal. I couldn’t believe it when I crossed the line.
“Before today I had all but given up, I was counting my career in days and races as opposed to years, but maybe I have bought myself more time now.
“The first half a lap I was wondering if it [the gap] was enough and then I thought, ‘it is now or never so I will go for it’.
“I have been racing every race like it is my last, just trying to survive really. I think because I ran every race like it was a final. When I got to the final I was pretty well rehearsed.
“Once we rolled up in the final, for me it was carry on doing what we have been doing.”