If Laura Kenny wanted to forget the injury that she was told to exclude the Olympic Games in Tokyo, her two-year-old son had different ideas.
“Albie goes to a few clubs and he keeps saying,” Mama’s poor, Mama’s poor eye, “the four-time Olympic gold medalist remembers smiling while speaking at the National Cycling Center in Manchester.
“I said,” This is a bad message, Albie! “
Laura Kenny will race again for Great Britain at this week’s World Championships in Berlin
Kenny wore a black eye at the time after her annoying crash during a World Cup race in Canada last month. She got a concussion and broke her right shoulder.
A specialist then told Kenny that she would not be suitable for Tokyo in July.
She describes the first week after her fall as a “nightmare,” when she couldn’t even pick up Albie. Her husband Jason – herself a winner of six Olympic golds – had to take over diaper duties.
Despite all this and just four weeks after the crash, Kenny is racing again for Great Britain at this week’s World Championships in Berlin.
Kenny suffered concussion and broke her right shoulder during a crash in Canada last month
It is an extraordinary recovery, but also a gamble.
“Many people, even the doctor, thought I had gone crazy to give it up,” admits Kenny, who chose not to undergo surgery on her shoulder.
“There are clear risks. My shoulder is much weaker now and if I crash I would put myself back a lot, but it is a risk that I am willing to take.
“My shoulder blade is broken, it will never be the same again. The amount of impact needed to break the shoulder is insane. When I went to the hospital, they asked if I had crashed a motorcycle.
“I don’t remember much after the crash. I don’t know who picked me up from the side of the track.
Kenny has decided to serve the team of four women starting Wednesday
“I just remember being in the hospital and our doctor told me to take some acetaminophen.
“I said,” I don’t have a headache, I need something stronger than that. I’m in so much pain, can I have some gas and air, please? ” I knew from Albie that gas and air are great! I just wanted something to get rid of the pain and I had cut off my skinsuit. It felt terrible.
“I went 36 hours without a shower. I went crashing, hospital, airport, home. I felt disgusted.
“But when I was on the plane, I thought,” I have to race the worlds. It won’t stop me. “
“I never thought of missing the Olympic Games. The only time I was a little worried was when I went to sit with the specialist.
Britain’s most successful female Olympian hopes to bring her gold figures to seven in Tokyo
He said, “Tell me your time frame,” and I said, “Four weeks.” He said, “No chance, what’s next?” and I said, “Six months, the Olympics.”
“He said even that wasn’t right. I said, “Are you laughing?” and he said, “I am not.”
“But here I am. I didn’t need surgery and I can cycle. “
Kenny admits that last month was the most challenging of her career. But if Britain’s most successful female Olympian ever is concerned about her shoulder injury affecting her performance, she won’t let it through.
In Berlin she will ride in the omnium and probably the scratch race, which is not an Olympic event. She serves the team chase and madison.
Given the importance of the World Championships for selection for Tokyo, Kenny’s dream of winning gold in three events this summer – team chase, omnium and madison – must be questionable.
Britain’s most successful female Olympian has gone through the most challenging month of her career
But she adds: “I’m still going for three medals. I am not saying it was easy to forget, but I fully believe that I can do well.
‘I have another scan after the worlds to see what it feels like. They then give eight weeks to get it healed completely.
“I think I’ve shown enough this season. They would not have chosen me for the worlds unless they thought I could produce some sort of result.
‘With the pursuit of the team, I don’t think I’m good enough to be on the team for the time being, because of the efforts I have to make. I don’t want to risk it for the team if I’m not 100 percent.
“Those four girls are probably better than me right now. I like to think that I would take something with me if I was selected for the team, but I have to be selected first. “
The pursuit of four women starts in Berlin on Wednesday and it will be interesting to see how a team of Katie Archibald, Elinor Barker, Ellie Dickinson, Neah Evans and Josie Knight perform in the absence of Kenny.
Great Britain won silver behind Australia during the event at the World Championships last year.
“It’s a real shame for Laura, it’s been a huge shame,” says Barker, who also drives Evans in the madhouse.
“I think it’s her first injury. I would imagine it was hard to deal with, but you wouldn’t know when she appears for training.
“She is still working hard, buzzing. I would not say that it has had a huge impact on the rest of the team. “