Dame Laura Kenny, Team GB’s most successful female Olympian, has revealed that she suffered a miscarriage in November and then had a fallopian tube removed following an ectopic pregnancy two months later.
Kenny, who won gold and silver medal at last summer’s Tokyo Olympic Games to add to four previous Olympic golds, posted a message on her Instagram profile after her return to action at this week’s UCI Track Cycling Nations Cup.
The 29-year-old had just helped Great Britain to second place in the women’s team pursuit, a result that was made even more meaningful in the context of the ordeal that herself and husband Jason, the seven-time Olympic Gold medallist, have been through.
“Back at a bike race! I didn’t expect to be back at a race any time soon but life doesn’t always go to plan does it,” Laura Kenny wrote.
“Since the Olympics we haven’t had much luck and it’s been the hardest few months I’ve ever had to go through. Jason and I fell pregnant immediately after the games and we were absolutely chuffed to bits.
“But unfortunately in November when commentating at the Track Champions League I miscarried our baby at nine weeks. I’ve never felt so lost and sad. It felt like a part of me had been torn away.
“I grabbed for my safety blanket, bike riding! I found myself back in my happy place training again.
“I then caught Covid in mid-January and found myself feeling really very unwell. I didn’t have typical covid symptoms and I just felt I needed to go to hospital. A day later I found myself in A&E being rushed to theatre because I was having an ectopic pregnancy. Scared doesn’t even come close. I lost a fallopian tube that day.
“I’ve always known I was tough, but sometimes life pushes you to an unbearable limit. If it wasn’t for Jason and Albie getting me through the day to day I’d have been broken.
“But here I am, with the support of my family, friends and team-mates, on the podium of a nation’s cup.”
The Kennys become the first married couple to be made Sir and Dame at the same time in the 2022 New Year Honours following their history-making achievements in Japan last year.
Kenny then also rode to victory at the British Madison Championships in Derby last month with Neah Evans before pulling out of the omnium event the next day after feeling unwell.
The Kennys already have one son, Albie, who started school last year and has regularly accompanied them to races. Jason, who is the most decorated cyclist in Olympic history, announced his retirement in February before taking up a coaching role with British Cycling. Laura, who is five years younger, has already stated her desire to compete for further gold at the Paris Olympics in 2024.
Kenny had earlier also spoken for the first time about the transgender inclusion debate which has so divided cycling. Her Great Britain team-mate, Katie Archibald, had this week accused cycling’s governing bodies of having badly “let down” Emily Bridges but said that the inclusion of transgender athletes should not come at the expense of “fairness”.
Archibald said that the retained advantages of trans women who have gone through male puberty were “well documented” but stressed that she still wants trans people to “feel welcome in our clubs, our training sessions, and our races”, calling on national and global sports bodies to “work with the wider scientific community when developing their policies”.
Kenny had been due to compete against Bridges in Derby, only for the Union Cycliste Internationale to block her entry and then British Cycling to suspend its policy which allowed transgender women to compete in women’s races provided that their testosterone had remained below 5 nmol/L limit for at least 12 months. Bridges, who had previously competed at a national junior and university level in male races, is adamant that she met all of the UCI and British Cycling guidelines.
Kenny, who had previously declined to comment on the issue, reposted Archibald’s statement on Twitter, adding: “Couldn’t agree more – well said, well written, thank you.”