Nobody remembers the reserves. Ask football fans who played for England at the 1966 World Cup and few will name Jimmy Greaves over hat-trick hero Geoff Hurst, despite the fact Hurst got into the team only after Greaves was injured. Likewise, England rugby fans will struggle to remember giant lock Simon Shaw’s contribution to the 2003 Rugby World Cup – mainly because he didn’t play a single minute of the tournament after being brought in as a replacement. The same rings true for Great Britain cyclist Andy Tennant.
Geraint Thomas, Peter Kennaugh, Steven Burke and Ed Clancy took the gold medals and the plaudits at the London 2012 Olympics after smashing the team pursuit world record in the final. Tennant – the reserve – is never mentioned. He doesn’t even have a medal as – unlike at the World Championships earlier in the year, where Great Britain also took gold – he did not race the qualification round either.
It is little surprise, therefore, the Wolverhampton-born rider, now 28, doesn’t cherish the memories of London 2012 in the same way his team-mates do as he prepares to return to the Lee Valley VeloPark boards for the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in March.
“I don’t regard it as an Olympics for me, at all, in 2012,” he says. “I’ve almost forgotten about it in many ways!”