Despite winning the event at the two previous Olympic Games, Jason Kenny was the most surprised man in the velodrome after helping Team GB to team sprint gold at Rio 2016.
Kenny, Philip Hindes, and Callum Skinner clocked a new Olympic record to claim the first track cycling gold medal of the Games in the same night the women's team pursuit squad broke their own world record.
The team, who had earlier set the first of three Olympic records in the event, finished with a time of 42.440, 0.102 ahead of gold medal final opponents New Zealand who took silver, with France in bronze.
“It was all a bit of a surprise really,” admitted Kenny.
“We’ve been going quite well in training so we had a rough idea of what we could do but we surpassed that in that first ride when we set that Olympic record.
“At that point I thought we could run away with it like London but then New Zealand came back at us and set the benchmark. We just went into the final with nothing to lose.
“The team event is always the best no doubt about it. You get to win it with your mates and I remember that with Chris and Jamie in Beijing and then again in London. It’s good to share it with your mates – it can get a bit lonely winning on your own.
“We made is priority to make sure Callum was on the back of us so we could protect him as much as possible. We knew he had it in him so I’m not surprised that he’s stepped up to be the best in the world. It all came together and we’re really chuffed. Today was pretty special and it was a good first day in the velodrome for all of us.”
For Kenny, the victory marks a third consecutive Olympic gold in the event after triumphing alongside Hindes and Sir Chris Hoy four years ago at London 2012 as well as taking top spot at Beijing 2008. The 28-year-old now four golds to his name, two behind the legendary Scot, and five medals in total.
Earlier in the evening, both team pursuits squads enjoyed successfully qualifying rides with the women in particular in blistering form, setting a new world record with their opening effort at Rio 2016.
Laura Trott, Joanna Rowsell Shand, Elinor Barker and Katie Archibald took over 0.4 seconds off their previous best as they came home in 4:13.260. Previous record holders Australia were third fastest with the USA second.
The men also set the fastest qualification time with Steven Burke, Ed Clancy, Owain Doull and Sir Bradley Wiggins finishing in 3:51.943, only 0.3 seconds slower than their London 2012 world record, as they also set the quickest time of the night.