Jason Kenny watching Georgia Holt break down on the Manchester velodrome rollers first started the Melton Mowbray star’s British Cycling journey. But now ‘comeback queen’ Georgia is relishing absorbing the six-time Olympic champion’s ‘poetic’ insight and wants to follow in his glittering Games footsteps.
Jason is Britain’s joint-most decorated Olympic gold medallist and up-and-coming sprinter Georgia, who is studying at Manchester Metropolitan University, is now training alongside the Team GB great but will never forget her first experience of seeing him at the National Cycling Centre.
The 20-year-old said: “Jason is just so gifted on a bike – you just watch him and it’s like poetry. The way he handles a bike is so different and so much better than anyone else. The coaches say he’s one of the most talented cyclists ever.
“He’s a really important part of the team and has been in it for so long. If you see him, he’s probably sat and relaxed, but when it’s time to train he’s got his head switched on.
“There was a time I was sat on track, and it was the busiest track session I’d ever been in. I was so scared – I didn’t know how to warm up on the rollers, and you can fall off them pretty easily when you’re first learning.
“I was sat opposite Jason and it was getting really busy. I just didn’t know what to do – I was so overwhelmed, and I just sat and cried. I thought ‘oh my god, I’m sat opposite Jason Kenny and he’s going to watch me fall off the rollers, this is really embarrassing.’ He’s like a 3000-time Olympian. So, the first time I ever I sat opposite Jason, I cried!”
Georgia has put that experience behind her and is now using funding from Entain – owner of Ladbrokes and Coral – and SportsAid to power her career in the velodrome. The partnership helps her access training, travel, equipment and mentoring and Georgia is hoping to take full advantage after her recent selection setback.
The Leicestershire ace narrowly missed out on being picked in the Great Britain team after finishing fifth in national trials, with coaches opting to select the four fastest cyclists – and surprisingly, the sixth. Georgia admits the news came as a blow but hopes taking inspiration from Jason this summer can help her bounce back in style.
Georgia, who only started cycling competitively two and a half years ago, added: “I’m a bit of a baby in the sport still, but obviously I’ve watched all the Olympics back. Jason has been such a trailblazer – he’s constantly setting world records. It will be really exciting to see how he goes in Tokyo – and I’ll be watching the Games very closely this time.
“I know what’s going on and I’m excited to see all the tactics. Hopefully I can get onto the squad, but we’ll see what happens. It’s not a setback, it’s just another chance for a comeback. It’s another chance to grow as a person and learn from it. I’m back into the swing of things – and I’m the comeback queen.”
Entain is proud to be championing the next generation of British sporting heroes by providing talented young athletes with financial support and personal development opportunities in partnership with SportsAid. Please visit entaingroup.com/entain-foundation to find out more!