Cycling star Laura Kenny says she and husband Jason will not let their child have a mobile phone or games console so they can have a “happy, healthy childhood” and not “sit on the sofa all day”.
Britain’s most successful female Olympian added that she wanted their child to be “active from a young age” and she “felt sorry” for overweight, inactive children as they “don’t know any different”. But the couple would “never force” their son or daughter to go in to professional sport.
The Kennys, known as cycling’s “golden couple”, married last year and Laura announced she was pregnant in February. Between them they have 10 Olympic and 10 World Championship track titles.
Laura, 25, told the Standard: “Me and Jason have had the conversation about consoles and phones. That is what [children] have grown up with now. I never had a PlayStation or anything like that. I had a phone in Year 8 — I think but that was it. It is about teaching them to be active from a young age. Hopefully, they will want to do [sport] rather than just sit on the sofa all day.
“It is never the child’s fault when you see little overweight children. Part of it is they don’t know any different. A bit of me feels so sorry for them as they haven’t experienced what I experienced as a child. I know how happy and how healthy my childhood was.”
Laura, who grew up in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, got into cycling when her mother took it up to lose weight. She said she would not push her child into her own sport, adding: “Sport will for sure be a big part of our lives.
“Everyone is like, ‘Do you want them to be a cyclist?’ I’d never force them. I wouldn’t say, ‘Do it!’ My parents were never like that. But I’d encourage them to exercise.” The four-time Olympic champion recently raced, and won, the National Madison Championships in December while six weeks pregnant — a feat followed in tennis by Serena Williams, who won the Australian Open in Jannuary while pregnant.
Kenny is now winding down training: “I am scaling it back totally. It is just taking the dog for a walk, anything from 20 minutes to two-and-a-half hours. I feel so much better for doing it.” She said cutting back “was hard, everything was full gas still”.
Laura — who admitted she found out the sex of her child “as soon as I could” but is keeping it secret — was recently awarded a CBE at Buckingham Palace alongside her 29-year-old husband.
She said less training meant they were spending more time together: “I am enjoying it. We’ve come down [to London] two weekends in a row now to do things. We would never have done that because cycling is our life. Everyone has said already, ‘When are you coming back?’ I haven’t even had the child. Obviously, I want to be back for Tokyo, that is why we planned it for this year. But I’m not going to rush back.”
Kenny was promoting Disney UK’s Let’s Go Week — a push to get children and parents more active. “I’d say to families, try everything. Literally any form of activity and do it with somebody,” she said. “That makes it more enjoyable. For me, dad didn’t work at weekends, so I got that time with dad when I was cycling. That’s why I enjoyed it.”