Olympics: Callum Skinner stunned to claim two medals in Rio
Callum Skinner could not make it a double gold on his Games debut but there is no shame in settling for silver behind an Olympic legend like Jason Kenny.
The 23-year-old Skinner – who joined forces with Kenny for team sprint gold on Thursday - was downed 2-0 in the individual final at the Rio Velodrome on Sunday.
In truth, the Edinburgh sprinter never looked likely to challenge Kenny, who is now carving his name indelibly into British cycling legend.
A knighthood cannot be far away for the 28-year-old as he claimed his fifth Olympic gold – level with Sir Bradley Wiggins and only one behind Sir Chris Hoy – with the keirin still to come this week.
The first sprint was a game of cat and mouse on Sunday as Skinner tried to test his rival out but Kenny showed his experience – this is his third Olympics after all while Skinner is making his debut – to swoop down from on high and cruise past the debutant.
And the second race was no closer as Kenny led from gun to tape to take gold and leave Skinner reflecting on a dream Olympics debut.
“The whole journey so far has been incredible, so to come away with a silver medal is fantastic,” he said. “I got beaten by the world champion, two-time Olympic sprint champion, so I did everything I could.
“I never thought I’d be going home with two medals. (Teammate) Philip Hindes believed in us, he made some weird statements now and again but it’s just been incredible, so to come away with anything is just a bonus.”
On another triumphant night for track cycling for Team GB, Kenny and Skinner secured the team’s fifth and sixth medals on the track already.
Kenny will go again in the keirin but this is the end for Skinner of a memorable first Olympics.
And his head coach Iain Dyer has loved watching his young charge’s progression from potential to podium.
“When you come to a new track and a new venue and you’ve not really had a chance to have a proper competition on it before, you’ve got to learn pretty fast,” said the head coach.
“The early rounds you just saw fantastic form and basic speeds from Jason and Callum.
“In the semi-finals, you saw a lot more race craft. It was a fantastic position to have two Brits in the final together.
“Callum has massively stepped up but we saw that back on the first day with the team sprints splits.”
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