Kenny admits Catlin’s death has made her question the intensity of her relationship with her sport.
“It has really hit me,” she says, sitting in the track centre in Manchester. “We came up against her a lot. She was obviously there in Rio in the team pursuit final. I said to Jas [husband Jason Kenny], ‘It’s sad she felt she didn’t have anyone to speak to … it’s just riding your bike’. Jas said, ‘Well you don’t see it as just riding your bike’. And it’s true. I do see it as more than that. Because you do give 24/7 to it. We invest so much.”
At the age of 26, Kenny says she feels fortunate that she is in a stable place in her life. As Britain’s most successful female Olympian, with four gold medals to her name garnered across two Games, and with Tokyo looming on the horizon, there is naturally a certain amount of pressure on her to live up to her reputation.
But having given birth to a son, Albie, in the summer of 2017, she feels she has a good perspective on life.
She cites her reaction to her decision to pull out of competing in the omnium at last month’s Track Cycling World Championships in Poland. “As much as I was heartbroken,” she says, “and as much as for the first couple of hours afterwards I was sat there like ‘this is awful’ … ultimately, Albie’s there. I flew home with him. And all of a sudden I didn’t feel sad any more. I don’t think it’s a bad thing.”