Laura Kenny reveals when and why she decided to retire - and the hidden heartbreak behind her success

Britain's most decorated female Olympian Dame Laura Kenny has revealed the moment she decided to call time on her stellar career.

In a wide-ranging interview with Sky News, the 31-year-old five-time Olympic gold winner and seven-time world champion revealed her reasons for retiring, her favourite sporting moment, and her plans for the future.

She also discussed the impact of suffering a miscarriage in November 2021 before being rushed into surgery two months later with an ectopic pregnancy.

It comes after the 31-year-old announced her retirement on Monday, saying in an Instagram post that it was "time to move on".

In her interview with Sky News presenter Wilfred Frost, Dame Laura, who is married and has two sons with former cyclist Sir Jason Kenny - Britain's most successful Olympian - said the birth of her second child last year had been a major factor in her decision.

Here's what she said:

On the reaction to her retirement...

"Honestly, it's been so overwhelming. And I've just been so grateful for everyone's support with me coming out saying that I'm stopping.

"Because when you come out and say you're retiring... I feel like I'm 60 or something. You know, like my dad retired two years ago.

"So it feels a bit funny, but you don't know what it [the reaction] is going to be - some people might be gutted - but it's been incredible, honestly."

On when she made the decision to retire...

"I really only decided 10 days ago - I was still training 10 days ago.

"That was the definite end point when I rang my agent and was like, 'I think I want to announce it'.

"But to be honest, it's been in my head a little while. When Monty (her second child) came, I always knew that it was going to be a massive mountain to climb (to get ready for the Paris Olympics).

"And it was a really different mindset that I was in this time. When I had my first child, I was 100% committed. I was just so in, and I wanted it really badly.

"When Monty came, I was finding myself not really wanting the grandparents to look after him, I wanted to do it myself, and it just felt really different.

"I think I always had an inkling in my head that... I didn't think I would make it to the Olympics, but I thought I might go to a World Championships.

"But then I just thought, I'm not fully committed to this. And that's never been me as an athlete. I've just always been so committed.

"I didn't want to waste anyone's time, and then I started to get these horrible feelings of 'I need to go to a race, I need to leave the kids. I need to go on these training camps'. And I didn't want to. And those were the warning signs."

On whether family is more important than sport...

"Now, for sure, yeah. And to be honest, I feel like I've been brought up like that. My mum and dad always put me and my sister first.

"I always wanted to be a mum, and I had the heartbreak of not being able to have a second child at times, having a miscarriage and an ectopic [pregnancy].

"And I think that really changed my mindset. Having children is a privilege, it's not a given. And so I think it really changed how I felt about bringing the kids up."

On whether it is harder to return to elite sport as a mum...

"Obviously, Jason and I can compare because we both came back for Tokyo.

"I think the comebacks in terms of my body and literally the mountain I had to climb to get it to come back to pre-having a child - those were very different.

"But I think in terms of the emotional effect that it has on both of us, it's been just as hard, if not [harder], I'd say for Jason.

"It's actually more difficult to voice that because everyone says 'Laura's the mum and so it must be harder for her to leave him [Monty] behind'.

"And I actually think it was just as hard for Jason and, in the background, almost more so because no one was asking him if he's okay."

On why her eldest son might not follow in her footsteps...

"I mean Albie, he's six, so he does all kinds sport: football, trampoline, tennis, you name it.

"He doesn't really like riding a bike at the minute. He hates it, he really does. He finds it uncomfortable - I mean, it kind of is.

"But it's funny because when I watch him, he doesn't have the killer instinct. He doesn't have what Jason and I have.

"I am trying to just encourage him in the background... because I don't want to be that parent [who is pushy] and I don't actually agree with it at all.

"I've seen so many parents at football by the minute shouting at their kids. I just feel like it's awful. They're six and seven. Let kids be kids."

On whether the glory was worth the pain...

"I think having to live your life painting the pretty picture of everything being okay was the hardest thing for me.

"I was training for the Commonwealth Games [in 2022], knowing deep down I wanted to have another child, but I would turn up to the track and I would have to be the bike rider because that's all I've known.

"And Jason and I really started drawing the line that personal life is at home and when you get to the track, you are 100% a bike rider.

"And it was just a really hard time. I actually look back now - and it was all worth it - but I patted myself on the back because that was the most mentally tough point in my career.

"And I could still go to the Commonwealth Games and perform because nobody had any idea how bad it was at home."

On her favourite moment in sport...

"In terms of the emotional battle [the Commonwealth Games], but the one that is always going to be one that is true to my heart is the first one in London 2012 - the home games.

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"It was just like something else. I find it so difficult to describe because it was just so unbelievable.

"I think we were already on a bit of an upward scale since Beijing because obviously what British Cycling did in Beijing was phenomenal and so I feel we were already on quite the progression.

"But I think what happened in London 2012 and I don't even think it's just in cycling, I think it's all across the board, it just gave this kind of stand and put it on everyone's TV, and it just got so many more people involved in sport."

On watching back her favourite moment...

"I would still watch it. I mean, people play them to me all the time.

"Honestly, if I could go back and relive those two weeks. I would a hundred times over."

On whether it will be hard to watch the Paris Olympics...

"No. See, someone asked me this yesterday, and initially, I was like, 'Oh, maybe'.

"But I've been away now for a while. I think I've been out of it long enough now that I'm okay with it.

On what she would like to do next...

"Every time you get on the bike, you've always got that in mind that, you know, you are inspiring the next generation.

"And for me it's always been about giving back.

"I always had idols, like Sir Chris [Hoy], Victoria Pendleton, they've given back so I would like to do something but for the younger generation is what I am more interested in.

"The 13 to 14-year-olds, something that gets more people to the level that Jason and I were able to [reach]."