King Kenny delivers sprint masterclass in Olympic Velodrome
Event: London Olympics men’s track sprint
When: 6 August 2012
Where: London Olympic Velodrome
How it unfolded
After being selected over defending champion Sir Chris Hoy to represent Great Britain in the men’s sprint at the London Olympics, the pressure was on Jason Kenny to repay the faith that had been placed in him.
Already a gold medallist with his colleague at the Olympic Velodrome two days earlier - in the team sprint – it was accepted that Kenny would more than likely have to overcome France’s Gregory Bauge if he was to experience another gold in front of a partisan crowd.
“It's amazing. I hadn't even thought about it until the last round and it dawned on me. I did it for the team."
Kenny had lost the pair’s last four high profile meetings 2-0, including sprint finals in the 2011 and 2012 track world championships, Bauge was placed as a favourite.
But it would be the 24-year-old from Bolton who would be in inspired form in the denouement of an enthralling rivalry. In the flying 200m qualifying, Kenny set a new Olympic record of 9.713, a record previously belonging to Hoy and more than two-tenths of a second quicker than his French counterpart.
Both breezed through to the gold medal ride, an apt end for the greatest stage. In the first ride, a tactical battle saw Kenny came from the back with the raw pace to power past at the line. Bauge would have no reply in ride two, this time Kenny demonstrating his completeness as a sprinter by attacking when leading from a long way out.
A stunned Bauge had no retort and Kenny had delivered a blockbuster performance when it mattered most to claim his third Olympic gold.
What they said
“It's amazing. I hadn't even thought about it until the last round and it dawned on me. I did it for the team. We were really close and he's been faster at the worlds. Three days ago I qualified quicker and I like racing against Bauge.
"Before we went up for the very last ride it dawned on me that if Chris was in my shoes here, there was no way he'd lose this one.
"If you look back in history, when it comes down to that really important ride, Chris nine times out of 10 smokes it.”
Why should this be the British Cycling's Ride of the Year 2012?
Kenny faced two huge hurdles en route to gold – earning Great Britain’s sole sprint spot for the Games over Sir Chris Hoy and then having the mental and physically capacity to defeat the world champion, whose record against him previously was flawless.
Not only did Kenny reverse the trend, but in a manner so comprehensive that it left no opportunity for any questioning as who was the number one sprinter in the world.