In Depth

Laura Trott and Jason Kenny: Perfectly ordinary Olympians

The story behind Team GB's golden couple is one of meticulous planning and dedication rather than glamour and drama

After their record-breaking achievements in Rio, everyone is talking about Team GB's golden couple Laura Trott and Jason Kenny.

Between them, they have won ten Olympic gold medals and have established themselves as two of the most successful Olympians the UK has ever produced.

But the two cyclists offer little for the gossip columnists to write about beyond Trott's interest in fashion and ability to put her hair in braids. Kenny, by his own admission, is a "miserable sod".

"You might forgive Laura Trott and Jason Kenny for leaving Rio rather full of themselves," says Tom Fordyce of the BBC. "Five competitions between them, five golds won. As of Tuesday night, had the couple been a country they would have sat 13th on the medal table, above Jamaica, Kenya and Brazil. That would be to misunderstand what makes them tick. This is a couple who got engaged while on the sofa watching an episode of EastEnders.

"Cycling superstars on their own, together they can be almost ordinary, almost invisible."

That, however, may be about to change, he says. After their Rio successes, the couple are firmly in the public eye. 

So is there much to read about? The Daily Mail devotes almost 2,000 words to their relationship and recounts how Trott rose to the pinnacle of her sport despite being born premature with a collapsed lung and later being diagnosed with asthma.

"Later, she developed a condition that caused her to faint without warning, and even now she struggles with acid reflux that can make her throw up after training," adds the paper.

It talks of "a truly heart-warming love story," before admitting that "despite their athletic feats, their relationship couldn’t be more ordinary". 

Trott and Kenny live together in Cheshire with their dogs, reports the paper: "At home, Jason cooks – Laura is so inept in the kitchen that she once set the cooker on fire while trying to bake a potato under the grill – while she does the housework."

There are also revelations about their diet - "breakfast comprises cereal and toast, lunch is an omelette, and dinner is a tuna bake or occasionally a Sunday roast" - and hobbies - "Sundays are their only days off, and even then they often find themselves cycling". As for children, the payer says they will wait until they are both retired from sport.

Perhaps their route to global sporting domination is more illuminating? Barney Ronay of The Guardian sees the couple as the embodiment of Team GB's success at Rio.

"The velodrome has been the engine, hub, and all-round g-spot of British success," he says.

Everything they did in Rio "was an act of sporting intimidation", he adds. "Trott in particular has a genuine star presence about her now, an unignorable quality even as she prowls the pits. Preparing to compete against this focused, ruthless, quietly menacing collection of blue lycra champs looks to be a genuinely oppressive experience for the rest of the field.

"Team GB cycling will stand as a triumph of central planning and elite well-groomed talent given a platform to shine."

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