Britain’s joint most-successful Olympian Jason Kenny has revealed he secretly retired after Rio 2016 but has now reversed his decision.
The six-time gold medallist said he “walked away” from track cycling because the sport had taken its toll on him physically and mentally.
However, the 29-year-old says a year off – and becoming a father – have made him change his mind.
“Having a break breathed new life into me,” he told BBC Sport editor Dan Roan.
“I was pretty happy with my decision to walk away and never come back. I started looking at other jobs that I can do. I was quite serious.
“I’d done it for 10 years and I’d never had more than a couple of weeks off. This is the first time I’ve stepped away and switched off and been myself.”
Kenny married fellow Team GB cyclist and four-time Olympic champion Laura Trott last year and the couple welcomed their son Albert last month.
“We got married, went on honeymoon and just did normal things. I never intended on coming back, but I didn’t want to announce any retirement. It’s not the way I am,” he continued.
“I started doing other things. I was going swimming and taking the dogs on epic walks. But it turns out I was rubbish at swimming and got bored of that really quickly.
“I started training again and I thought I might try a bit of a comeback. I did a couple of efforts and they weren’t great results, but I felt like I did when I was 18. I felt refreshed.”
Kenny will return to the track for the first time since winning gold in the keirin final at Rio 2016 when he competes in the Manchester leg of the Revolution Series on 6 January – the start of his journey towards the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
Kenny is level with former team-mate Sir Chris Hoy on the most number of gold medals won by a Briton at the Olympics.
Two more medals of any colour would make him Great Britain’s most decorated Olympian of all time, moving him ahead of Sir Bradley Wiggins.
“My short term goal is to get some points, get back in the team and get competitive, with the goal of making another Olympics,” he added.
“I feel like I’m 18 again. Except I do click a bit more these days.”