Sir Chris Hoy backs Laura Kenny to break mythical barrier of 10 Olympic gold medals

Laura Kenny wins gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics

“Laura broke her shoulder two weeks before the World Championships and struggled, so with the postponement she’ll have a chance to come back from that and be in the best form of her life.

“If the time comes when she wins the third, that’s when she realises what she’s achieved. It would be significant for women’s sport and it would just be an amazing athletic performance.

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“With Laura, I don’t see Tokyo as being the end. I think she’s got at least another Games in her after Tokyo. We could be talking about eight, nine, ten gold medals, who knows.

“She’s got a lot more to give. She’s a fantastic performer, a fantastic athlete and I’d like to see her knock myself and maybe even her husband (Jason) off our perch.”

Jason can move above Hoy with a medal of any colour in Tokyo with the pair having an identical Olympic record of six gold medals and a silver in the velodrome.

Kenny has been at the forefront of his nation’s track cycling dominance in the last three Games, with Team GB winning 22 golds and finishing top of the sport’s medal table in Beijing, London and Rio.

Yet Britain’s prospects look gloomy in blue riband track cycling events, with the Netherlands dominating the sprinting scene and the likes of Denmark and Italy streets ahead in team pursuit.

Sir Chris Hoy won six Olympic gold medals

February’s World Championships were somewhat of a disappointment by British Cycling’s high standards, with only four medals won and no individual title in an Olympic discipline.

Hoy admits Britain will be chasing their tail at times in trying to catch the world’s best but expects a substantial gold medal return of around half the phenomenal London 2012 haul of eight.

“There’s no doubt the game has moved on and a lot more nations are pushing the boundaries in the way Britain has in the last three Games,” said Hoy.

“But that’s not to say I don’t think Britain will do really well. I think Britain will come away with three, possibly four, gold medals and that will put them in the top two nations.

“It might not quite be the dominance we’d seen previously, but there’s still plenty to look forward to. I do believe extra year will have helped them.

“They took a bit of a beating in some events at the World Championships, it was one of their worst performances at a Worlds in living memory.

“That’s maybe given them the time to make changes and to lick their wounds, recover and come back stronger.”

Hoy found time to make a cycling fan’s day when he staged a surprise thank you to Kirsteen Durkin, who has been helping vulnerable people in Fife throughout Covid-19.

The Burntisland local has been a long-time volunteer at Scottish Cycling Women’s Development Group and has helped run an Emergency Action Team during the pandemic, doing shopping, dropping off prescriptions and even picking up pets.

Sir Chris Hoy surprised cycling fan Kirsteen Durkin, who has helped vulnerable people throughout the pandemic

Hoy got a real kick out of taking part in the thank you, one of a number taking place across the UK to honour grassroots sports volunteers who have helped out with the use of some of the £30m raised each week for good causes by National Lottery players.

“I’ve grown a beard in lockdown, so I’m just glad Kirsteen recognised me when I jumped on the Zoom call!” he said.

“It was really nice. These are the kind of people who don’t get the recognition – not because they want it, but because they only want to help people close to them.

“She’s an example of hundreds of people around the country doing what they can, they’ve got a huge amount of energy and enthusiasm to make things work. It was lovely.”

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