British cyclist Jason Kenny wins 2nd gold of Rio Olympics
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) British cyclist Jason Kenny insists there was nothing awkward about the 24 hours leading to the individual sprint finals.
Even though he was sharing a room with his opponent, Callum Skinner.
''Just did the same thing we always do,'' Kenny said. ''We went to dinner, went to bed, woke up and had breakfast and came here.''
Kenny also insists there will be nothing awkward about heading back to their room together, even after he soundly beat Skinner on Sunday to win his second gold medal of the Rio Games.
''What we do on the track,'' he said, ''has no bearing with what happens at home.''
Besides, people should be accustomed to playing second fiddle to Kenny by now.
Not only did he defend the individual sprint title he won at the London Games, he also won his fifth Olympic gold medal. And when you combine the silver he won in the event at the Beijing Games, he now has six medals overall heading into Tuesday night's keirin competition.
''I don't know how they do it,'' said Russia's Denis Dmitriev, who at least managed to beat Kenny once in the semifinals of the best-of-three sprint event. ''But, yeah, they're best at the moment.''
Dmitriev swept pass Matt Glaetzer of Australia to earn the bronze medal.
In other events Sunday, former world road champion Mark Cavendish of Britain got started in the opening events of the six-discipline omnium, the decathlon of the track cycling program.
The winner of 30 stages in the Tour de France, Cavendish was the lone member of the British track cycling team to leave the 2008 Beijing Games without a medal. He also failed to medal at the 2012 London Games, when he was among the favorites in the road race.
Cavendish sits third in the two-day competition and must overcome Thomas Boudat of France and Elia Viviani of Italy. He will also have to hold off reigning Olympic champ Lasse Norman Hansen of Denmark, who won the scratch race and individual pursuit before taking last in the elimination race.
''I'm in good position,'' Hansen said. ''(The scratch race) is a mental boost for me. I feel quite confident especially after that race. Normally the scratch is one of my weakest races.''
With its sizable funding from lottery proceeds, the British team has come to dominate track cycling at the Olympics, winning seven golds each of the past two Summer Games. And in events where nations are allowed more than one rider, they often claim silver and bronze, too.
Their success four years ago led one French official to suggest they had ''magic wheels.''
The British insist the only magic is in their training. They plan every four years for the Olympics, even at the expense of major events such as the world championships. Everything is geared toward being razor-sharp for the Summer Games.
Kenny is perhaps the best at it.
Many critics thought the man from Bolton had lost some of the leg speed that carried him to two gold medals at the London Games. But he quickly silenced them by teaming with Skinner and Philip Hindes to win the team sprint gold on the opening night of the track program in Rio.
''I tried to convince myself that I probably feel better because I have more training than Callum's got, but in reality I hurt quite a bit this morning,'' Kenny said. ''I knew it would be a fight and it was - it was just a matter of coming here and focusing on the process, really.''
Kenny has been leading another remarkable medal rush for Britain that included world-record performances by the men's and women's pursuit teams and a silver medal for Becky James in the keirin.
More could be on the way, too.
Along with Cavendish in the omnium and Kenny in the keirin, Becky James and Katy Marchant are alive in the women's individual sprint. Both breezed through their opening round Sunday.
''To be honest, to do what we did in Beijing and again in London and to be pushing for it again, it's really special,'' Kenny said. ''It's the whole setup, it gives us the opportunity, and I'm really lucky to be part of this era to go through this amazing set of Games we've had.''