Britain's Kenny Beats Countryman Skinner to Take Gold in Cycling Sprint

Jason Kenny defeated Callum Skinner in an all-Britain final inside the velodrome Sunday to defend his individual sprint Olympic gold medal and win his second gold of the Rio Games.

Kenny and Skinner combined with Philip Hindes to win the team sprint Thursday night.

Kenny overtook Skinner on the final straightaway to win the first of their best-of-three race, then showed some veteran poise as he held off Skinner from the lead to make it a clean sweep.

It was Kenny's fifth Olympic gold medal and sixth medal overall. The performance also gave the powerful British track cycling team four gold medals and six overall in Rio.

Denis Dmitriev of Russia swept past Matt Glaetzer of Australia to take bronze.

Former world road champion Mark Cavendish of Britain also got his Olympics going in the opening events of the multi-discipline omnium, the decathlon of the track cycling program.

The winner of 30 stages in the Tour de France, Cavendish was the lone British rider to leave the 2008 Beijing Games without a track cycling medal. He also failed to win a medal at the London Games four years ago, when he was among the favorites in the road race.

With its massive funding from lottery proceeds, the British team has come to dominate track cycling at the Olympic, winning seven golds each of the past two Summer Games. And in events where nations are allowed more than one rider, they often claim silver and bronze, too.

Their success four years ago led one French official to suggest they had "magic wheels."

The British insist the only magic is in their training.

They plan every four years for the Olympics, even at the expense of major events such as the world championships. Everything is geared toward making sure they are razor-sharp for the Summer Games.

Kenny is perhaps the best at it.

Many critics thought the man from Bolton had lost some of the leg speed that carried him to two gold medals at the London Games. But he quickly silenced them by teaming with Skinner and Philip Hindes to win the team sprint gold on the opening night of the track program in Rio.

That began another remarkable medal rush that included world-record performances by the men's and women's pursuit teams and a silver medal for Becky James in the keirin.

More could be on the way.

Along with Kenny in the keirin and Cavendish in the omnium, which wraps up Monday night, there's James and Katy Marchant in action in the women's sprint Tuesday night. Both breezed through their matches to open the sprint competition Sunday.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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