A brave battle and the love she couldn't keep secret: How Laura Trott beat the odds to become Britain's greatest female Olympian and bagged the Bolton Bullet along the way
- Laura Trott was born four weeks early with a collapsed lung and spent weeks fighting for her life
- She then struggled with asthma, fainting and acid reflux that still causes her to vomit after training
- Her relationship with Jason Kenny was revealed 2012 when spotted canoodling watching volleyball
- The golden couple will now have a record-breaking ten gold medals in their Cheshire home
Theirs is an Olympic fairytale like no other.
When Laura Trott, cycling’s Golden Girl, and her fiancé Jason Kenny, the Bolton Bullet, step on the plane back from Rio this week, they look set to bring with them a record-breaking five gold medals – to add to the five (plus a silver) they already have in their Cheshire home.
It is, by a long way, the most successful Olympic household in the country – if not the world.
Posh and Becks of cycling? Laura Trott and Jason Kenny got together in the run-up to London 2012 and now live together in Knutsford, Cheshire, but despite comparisons with David and Victoria Beckham the couple live out of the spotlight and cycle six days a week. They are pictured above in August 2012 in London
Champion: Laura Trott has won more Olympic golds than any British female athlete ever
Brave battle: Born four weeks prematurely with a collapsed lung, Laura spent her first six weeks on a ventilator in intensive care, fighting for her life. Above, Laura as a child
But behind the glittering medal haul and their impressive titles – Laura has won more golds than any British female athlete ever; if Jason was victorious in the velodrome last night he now shares the accolade with Sir Chris Hoy – is something that binds these two even more closely: a truly heart-warming love story.
For despite their athletic feats, their relationship couldn’t be more ordinary. She calls him her ‘superhero’ and has nicknamed him ‘King Kenny’; he proposed when she was watching EastEnders and complained that it would have been easier if only one of them had been selected for team GB to save them the hassle of finding someone to look after their dogs.
Laura’s devotion to him – broadcast in technicolour on her Twitter and Instagram accounts – is absolute. ‘My little family,’ she gushes, under a photograph of Jason in bed with one of the couple’s springer cross poodles.
She also posts pictures of their regular date nights, her hair always neatly braided in the same pretty plaits she sports on the track.
The style, which nimble-fingered Laura does herself – and often for her teammates – is a practical one. Plaits keep flyaway hairs out of her face and can be coiled or pinned up neatly to fit under her helmet.
Spotted: Star couple Laura and fiance Jason Kenny was seen kissing in 2012 when the sat behind David Beckham watching the women's beach volleyball final in London
Devotion: The couple have date nights and she calls him her ‘superhero’ and has nicknamed him ‘King Kenny’. The pair have ten gold medals and one silver between them
But it’s also a nod to Laura’s feminine side. She wears make-up on the track and always has her nails painted with glittery Union flags before a race.
Her coach, she reveals, keeps threatening to cut off her long blonde hair, but she forbids it. ‘You have to have certain things that make you feel good,’ she explains. ‘It’s not the most feminine sport, is it? I can’t wear a dress when I’m cycling.
‘I’m a real girly girl, so the minute I’m not on the bike I make a real effort, even if I’m not going out.’
Unfortunately Jason, who recently gave his fiancée a pair of expensive Louboutin sandals, didn’t wait until she was looking her best to pop the question. It was a few days before Christmas 2014, and Laura, fresh out of the shower, was sitting in her pyjamas with wet hair, watching EastEnders.
‘He was acting weird for a good half an hour and I was like, “What is the matter with him?”’ she explains. ‘And then he walked over to our bookshelf and got this ring out and got down on one knee.’
Even Mum Glenda doesn’t know when or where the wedding will be – the focused pair didn’t want to set a date until after Rio, but it’s thought to be sometime next year.
Laura wears make-up on the track and always has her nails painted with glittery Union flags before a race
Her coach, she reveals, keeps threatening to cut off her long blonde hair, but she forbids it
As a toddler, she had a permanent chest infection and she was diagnosed with asthma aged six. Her mum said she took up sports in a bid to regulate her breathing
One thing is for certain. It will have to be slotted in around Laura’s busy training schedule.
‘Cycling is everything to Laura,’ says Glenda, 54. ‘I can’t see anything else taking over her life in the same way.’
In many ways it is incredible that cycling is even a feature of Laura’s life. Born four weeks prematurely with a collapsed lung, she spent her first six weeks on a ventilator in intensive care, fighting for her life.
As a toddler, she had a permanent chest infection and she was diagnosed with asthma aged six.
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.
Eagle-eyed onlookers will have seen a pale-faced Laura retching into a bag after the individual pursuit of the Omnium event yesterday. It is a wonder she can ride at all – let alone rocket round the track winning just about every race she enters.
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
Laura is just 5ft 4in and weighs eight stone – quickly won the home crowd’s hearts in London 2012 and she soon won Jason’s, too
‘She’s a strong young woman – she can do anything she puts her mind to,’ says her proud mum, whose weight-loss drive back in 1998 was the reason Laura, and the rest of her family – dad Adrian, 56, and sister Emma, 26 – got into cycling in the first place.
‘Her asthma affected her when she was younger and she had a few bad fits. A doctor suggested a sport might regulate her breathing, so she tried swimming and trampolining.
‘But when I decided to get myself in shape and took the family to the local cycling track, she really came into her own. Her face would light up; she didn’t talk about anything else. She still doesn’t now. That’s why she and Jason are so good – he’s just the same.’
Their reluctance to court the cameras is, in many ways, understandable, given the high profile way in which their budding relationship came to public attention during the London Olympics in 2012.
Having secured their own victories, Laura and Jason were spotted canoodling in the stands at a beach volleyball match at Horse Guards Parade.
It might have gone unnoticed – were the pair not wearing their Team GB tracksuits, and sitting behind none other than David Beckham. Instead, it made the front pages. ‘David warned us,’ Laura explained at the time. ‘He said, “Oh, be careful you two”, because he thought the press might take pictures – and he was right. We thought, in the grand scheme of things, we were nothing compared to David Beckham.’ They couldn’t have been more wrong. Ironically, the pair have since been nicknamed the Posh and Becks of track cycling – a moniker Laura dismisses as ‘ridiculous’.
‘At least Posh and Becks can talk about the places they go, whereas Jason and I just sit in a velodrome, race around in circles and go home.’
They share their home with Sprolo and Pringle, two springer cross poodles, whom Laura calls ‘my babies’
Eagle-eyed onlookers will have seen a pale-faced Laura retching into a bag after the individual pursuit of the Omnium event yesterday
It was, of course, in a velodrome that they first met – back in 2010, when Laura, then 18, was selected to join the British team. ‘I didn’t like him, I really didn’t,’ Laura says of her fiancé back then. ‘If he was in a room with me, he’d just sit there; he wouldn’t come up to me.’
Indeed, Jason – known as the ‘quiet man’ of Team GB’s cycling squad – couldn’t be more different in personality to cheerful, bubbly, laugh-a-minute Laura.
With her thick Essex accent (though she grew up in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, Laura was born in Harlow, Essex), trademark schoolgirl plaits and sparkling blue eyes, the pint-sized cyclist – Laura is just 5ft 4in and weighs eight stone – quickly won the home crowd’s hearts. She soon won Jason’s, too.
Having split from another British cyclist, Sam Harrison, in June 2012, Laura and Jason began dating just a few weeks later, doing their best to keep their romance secret until after the London Olympics.
Their cover blown, they went on holiday to Dubai shortly afterwards and moved in together in December 2013, putting their well-earned winnings – as professional athletes, both can earn up to £65,000 a year, as well as income from Laura’s lucrative sponsorship from companies such as Adidas – towards a £500,000 three-bedroom cottage in Chelford, a picturesque village in Cheshire.
They share their home with Sprolo and Pringle, two springer cross poodles, whom Laura calls ‘my babies’. 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.
She and Jason have talked about having a family, but Laura wants to be a traditional stay-at-home mum, so babies are off the cards while she’s still cycling
Their rigorous training regime – both are at the Manchester velodrome from 8.30-11.30am and then again from 2-5pm every day – requires a super-strict diet, based on plans drawn up by Team GB’s nutritionists
Their rigorous training regime – both are at the Manchester velodrome from 8.30-11.30am and then again from 2-5pm every day – requires a super-strict diet, based on plans drawn up by Team GB’s nutritionists.
Breakfast comprises cereal and toast, lunch is an omelette, and dinner is a tuna bake or occasionally a Sunday roast. The pair’s cupboards are stocked with cereal bars and high-energy snacks such as Lindt chocolate bears and Terry’s chocolate oranges. Alcohol is off the menu, though neither is a heavy drinker anyway.
Sundays are their only days off, and even then they often find themselves cycling – this time on roads around the Peak District. They’re regulars at a cafe in Lytham, a pretty seaside spot north of Manchester.
She and Jason have talked about having a family, but Laura wants to be a traditional stay-at-home mum, so babies are off the cards while she’s still cycling. ‘It all depends on how long my Olympic career lasts, because I want to end my career [before having children],’ she explains. ‘I don’t want to be pushed out of the sport, so whether it’s after Tokyo or the ones after that – I don’t want to draw a line because I love it too much.’
For now, their biggest priority is getting their incredible medal haul safely home to Britain.
And where will they display what will potentially be their five shiny new Olympic golds? In a trophy cabinet, perhaps, or pride of place on the mantelpiece?
No, they’ll go with the others – hidden away at the bottom of the sock drawer, where Laura and Jason keep all their medals.
Here’s hoping their phenomenal success doesn’t change this humble duo one bit.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3744214/A-brave-battle-love-couldn-t-secret-Laura-Trott-beat-odds-Britain-s-greatest-female-Olympian-bagged-Bolton-Bullet-way.html#ixzz4HaUcElac
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