Sports Personality of the Year 2016: Laura Kenny - The year the girl from Cheshunt made history

Sports Personality of the Year 2016: Laura Kenny - The year the girl from Cheshunt made history

2016 has been a monumental year for Laura Kenny, already the Golden Girl of British cycling, she more than cemented herself as the Golden Girl of British Olympians.

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Rob Tonkinson

One half of track cycling’s power couple, the summer of 2016 belonged to the Kenny clan, and whilst her other half Jason made it a hat-trick of gold medals in Rio, Laura Trott, now Laura Kenny more than stole the headlines.

For Trott, the year of accolades began in March at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in London.

The previous year had been one of disappointment in the Paris suburb of Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines where the rival Australian team denied her the Team Pursuit and Omnium titles.

An Olympic Champion in 2012 in the Omnium, Trott had been unable to recapture the World Championship since the London games, finishing second to Sarah Hammer in 2013 and 2014 and second to Annette Edmondson in 2015.

Successful year started in London

Finally, back in London, she was able to win her first Omnium World title since 2012, rediscovering the Olympic form at the right time to beat France’s Laurie Berthon and the American Hammer by 18 and 19 points respectively.

She also won her first Scratch Race World title, her first Scratch race title since the 2011 European Track Championships.

Being that the scratch race is part of the multiple-event Omnium, winning the scratch race would set her up to be in form for Rio, although Trott’s strengths would be down to her time trial based events.

There was some disappointment at London’s World Championships, the Team Pursuit team missed out on the final and finished third, although their final performance showed their growing potential, finishing 3.685 seconds ahead of their opponents New Zealand and 3 hundredths of a second ahead of the USA’s winning final performance.

For Trott, the World Championships were a successful platform to build upon and with the Olympics around the corner; it was only looking up for the 24-year-old.

Kenny's Rio Games was spectacular

For the whole of Team GB, especially the cycling, the Rio games were an unparalleled success, more than just matching their London 2012 medal haul but surpassing it.

With future husband Jason Kenny stealing the show in the Men’s Team Sprint and Individual sprint against Team GB teammate Callum Skinner, Laura and her team of the returning Joanna Roswell Shand, Matrix Pro Cycling teammate Elinor Barker and Katie Archibald did their level best to outdo them in the Women’s Team Pursuit.

The quartet blitzed away the competition; they set World and Olympic records in the qualifying, semi-final and final rounds, finishing over two seconds ahead of the USA team in the final.

4:10:236 was the time in the final, just under two seconds quicker than the previous World record and usual pace of Team Pursuit events, with the USA team just outside of that in both their semi-final and final rides.

From the Team Pursuit triumph it was on to her own individual goal, Trott had won the Omnium event in 2012 by one single point from Sarah Hammer.

In 2016, in the newer format, Trott continued to blow away her competition, finishing 24 points ahead of Hammer four years on and retaining her Gold medal.

The fourth gold medal of her still young career was a milestone one, as she became Britain’s most successful female Olympian and at still only 24, she has at least one Olympic cycle left in her and could really set herself apart as one of Britain’s greatest ever Olympians – if she isn’t that already.

The happiest news off the track for Trott was her marriage to fellow Team GB cyclist Jason Kenny, Kenny himself of course had a great 2016 winning three Gold medals and joining fellow cyclist Sir Chris Hoy as Britain’s most successful male Olympian.

The couple together have 10 Olympic Golds, surely the most in any one family.

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