June 22, 2021

Greg Rutherford: Former long jump Olympic champion training to compete in bobsleigh

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Greg Rutherford
Greg Rutherford won Olympic gold on ‘Super Saturday’ at London 2012

Former Olympic long jump champion Greg Rutherford is training with Britain’s bobsleigh squad in an attempt to compete at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games.

The 34-year-old, who won gold at London 2012, aims to be the first Briton to win summer and winter Olympic medals.

Rutherford, who also claimed bronze at the Rio Olympics in 2016, ended his long jump career in 2018.

“I’m coming back, and I intend to make history,” he told the Guardian.external-link

Rutherford is yet to sit in a bobsleigh, but is seen by British bobsleigh coaches as an athlete capable of competing for a place at next year’s Olympics in China.

He will join the four-man team piloted by Lamin Deen at a camp in Gibraltar in May and will train at the British Bobsleigh & Skeleton Association’s base in Bath later in the summer.

It is in Bath that Rutherford will get his first chance to sit in a bobsleigh, training on a dry track.

“We are really pleased to have Greg involved,” a spokesperson for the BBSA told BBC Sport.

“What Greg has set out to do is far from easy for any athlete but he has shown he has the right mindset to succeed and will no doubt leave no stone unturned along the way.

“We’re looking forward to seeing him compete for a place this coming season with a group of really talented athletes already in the GB set-up and we are really excited about what he can offer.”

Alongside Olympic gold, Rutherford claimed world, European and Commonwealth Games titles during an illustrious 13-year career as a long jumper.

When he announced his retirement in 2018, he said he was in pain “every single day” because of a continued problem with his left ankle.

He said he made the decision to attempt to take up the sport after he began training again during lockdown last year, although he had first discussed the idea in 2014external-link.

While he admits his “ankle is still a bit dodgy” he added that his “body responded really well”.

Rutherford said he was encouraged to think about making the leap into the new sport by Canada’s two-time Olympic bobsleigh gold medallist Kaillie Humphries.

“I know most people believe it is impossible to go from never having attempted a sport to winning an Olympic medal in under a year,” Rutherford told the Guardian. “But I 100% disagree.

“I’m not doing this merely to turn up to finish 25th.

“I intend to train incredibly hard, get myself on to the team, and then win a medal. And if we get the right sled, and have the perfect run, anything is possible. Even gold.”

Britain’s four-man bobsleigh team piloted by Deen finished 12th at this year’s World Championships.

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