2016 was the year of the Kenny's. 12 months in which a fairytale locked horns with two sporting greats. Jason and Laura Kenny enjoyed a phenomenal Olympic Games that will define their career. The end to a four year cycle that saw Jason join Sir Chris Hoy as the most decorated athlete in British history.
The beginning of the dream
An incredible year for Jason began way before the Olympics in Rio. Back in March, cycling held their World Championships in London, an event almost undermined by the upcoming global event. Kenny went into the event admittedly "unsure if he could deliver". Yet the cyclist from Bolton is an incredibly humble sporting phenomenon. He worked his way comfortably through to the final, before seeing off the high profile Matthew Glaetzer of Australia in a stunning final.
If three golds at two previous Olympic Games had not made the 28-year old favorite for a medal haul, this recent success did nothing but promote those hopes further in Rio. Matched in a team with young hopefuls Philip Hindes and Callum Skinner, the trio set an Olympic Record of 42.562 in qualification. During the next round, questions were raised when New Zealand beat their time, yet Team GB put those worries to bed when they destroyed the Kiwis in the gold medal race, setting another Olympic Record of 42.440 in the process. Gold number four in the bag for Kenny.
Kenny then turned his attentions to the men's sprint, where he entered the competition as favourite oncemore. The experienced campaigner set another Olympic Record of 9.551 seconds at an average speed of 75.384 kph during qualification, edging out teammate Skinner in the process. Kenny then won eight of his next nine races to set up a final with the same man. Yet Skinner was unable to touch Kenny as Team GB's number one cyclist defeated him by 0.113 and 0.086 seconds as he made another gold medal look easy. Number five complete.
The World was beginning to take note as Kenny hunted down the target set by Hoy. In a controversial Keirin that saw two restarts, nerves and tension were clearly palpable. Kenny himself was at the centre of a prolonged video review as he avoided disqualification by the slightest of margins. Yet the focussed professional recovered to take gold and enter his name in the record books.
After the incredible achievement, the British hero admitted "I'm proud to be part of the team's Olympic success and doing my bit. I was there in Beijing and knew he [Chris Hoy] was special and as the years have gone by I appreciated how amazing he was then. To do the same is amazing".
A fairytale ending
Coincidentally, fiancee Laura became the most decorated female British Olympian on the same evening, as she won a fourth gold in the Omnium. The pair completed their incredible year by getting married at a secret venue just weeks after their incredible successes.
In terms of the Sports Personality of the Year Award for 2016. It would take a lot to throw the British public off the scent of the joint most decorated British Olympian for at least a top three berth. A World Champion and three-time Olympic Champion in the same year is some achievement.