Kenny or Hoy? Who’ll get the Olympic spot?
The Knight Rider versus the Rising Star
Following the Beijing Olympics in 2008, the UCI have changed the sprint rules allowing only one representative from each country to compete. As one of the events at which he won a gold in 2008, Sir Chris Hoy was the early frontrunner for this honour, but Jason Kenny has been strongly contesting his place. This is a real clash of the titans between two of cycling’s golden boys and may the best man win.
Dave Brailsford, performance director or British Cycling and general manager of Team Sky and Shane Sutton the head coach are tasked with making this almost impossible decision, probably one of the toughest any of the selectors have to make. They are allowed to wait until noon on 3rd August, the day before the sprint cycling begins to name the competitor.
The waiting must be a fraught process so far for both men, but will mean that they are likely to be pushing each other hard in training at the moment. Hoy has said that whatever the outcome, he is simply he is simply focussing on his training.
“Whether it’s me or Jason Kenny – either of us will do a great job. It isn’t weighing on my mind as you have to stay focussed on the here and now. It might not be until 48 hours before the race that we find out, but I would think we might know a bit sooner. But ultimately it’s about the overall medal count for the team, not individual glory.”
In the early part of this year, Hoy seemed the stronger contender, winning the national championship with Kenny in third place. Hoy also won the Astana and London World Cups, but in February, Kenny triumphed in the sprint at the Revolution meeting, He then achieved a 2-0 victory over Hoy in the men’s sprint semi-final at April’s World Track Cycling championships in Melbourne.
The decision might even come down to a graph’s curve or a pie chart segment from the two rider’s performance data being scrutinized at British Cycling headquarters. This, alongside the debate of form over experience, makes choosing the best placed person to win a gold medal for Britain so tough.
Sir Chris Hoy
BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 2008, Knighted in 2009 and with a high-speed Class 395 train and the 2014 Commonwealth Games Velodrome named after him, Chris Hoy cuts a formidable figure in the cycling world. With 25 World Champsionship medals (11 gold), 5 Olympic medals (4 gold, 3 of which were gained at Beijing 2008) and 4 Commonwealth Games medals, he truly is a British cycling success story and it’s no surprise he was chosen as an ambassador for London 2012.
A rapidly rising star, in just three and a half years Jason Kenny has progressed from competing in a domestic junior series to Olympic Champion and was appointed MBE in 2009. In terms of ability and achievement he is considerably further ahead than most senior professional cyclists were at his age. With an impressive portfolio of accolades already, including 2 Olympic medals, he has already broken a world record as part of the 2008 Olympic team sprint and finished with a silver medal behind Chris Hoy in the individual sprint. He was sprint World champion and national team sprint champion in 2011.
We’re predicting Kenny for the individual sprint, Hoy for the keirin and the pair joining forces as part of the team sprint squad. Whether Hoy or Kenny is selected, there is still the chance that neither of them will defeat France’s Grégory Baugé in the individual sprint, whose amazing form led him to win the world championship, looking in a class of his own. With the exception of his disqualification at last year’s race, Baugé has been crowned world champion four times in a row.
July 6, 2012 Track