Greg the baker has recipe for success… Olympic hero Rutherford on how life has been very different since Super Saturday
) — but it was also the
shortest winning mark for Olympic gold since Randy Williams’ 8.24m in
‘People said I came out of nowhere,’
says Rutherford, ‘but I thought: “Hang on. I’ve been a professional
athlete for eight years. I’ve been a world top 10 athlete for five or
six.” It’s a bit frustrating.
Jump to it: Rutherford competing at the London Olympics in August
‘It wasn’t the longest distance in the world, but I did what I needed to do on the day to win.
‘I want to be classed as one of the
greatest ever long jumpers, which means I have to go out there and jump a
hell of a lot further than I have done. I still genuinely believe, at
26, that’s possible.’
Rutherford at the Beijing Olympics in 2008
However, five years ago Rutherford
contemplated walking away from athletics, after a 2007 season heavily
disrupted by injury culminated in him failing to qualify for the final
at the World Championships in Osaka. But Rutherford won the British
title to book his place in Beijing only to finish 10th at the Olympic
Games as he failed to reach 8m.
‘I didn’t perform in Beijing,’
admitted Rutherford. ‘Emotionally I wasn’t in a good place (after his
grandfather died). But in 2009 I broke the British record, in 2010 got a
Commonwealth silver medal, had a great year in 2011 and, all of a
sudden, it was starting to work.
‘So I thought: “Well, I can’t give up
now, because I’ve got the greatest competition of my life next year.”
And thank goodness I didn’t.’
Rutherford credits Dan Pfaff, the
American ‘super-coach’ whose contract with UK Athletics expired in
December, as a ‘ridiculously important’ part of his development.
Later this month, however,
Rutherford, will move from his hometown of Milton Keyes to Phoenix in
Arizonza to continue working with Pfaff. It will be another huge change
for the self-titled ‘Ginger Wizard’.
‘I can’t wait,’ said Rutherford.
‘When I joined Dan he told me he wanted me to have a PhD in long jump by
the time I retired — that’s how well he wanted to teach me.
‘Technically, I’m still not a great
long jumper. I think there’s a hell of a lot more for me to learn.
Hopefully I’ve got another Olympics, maybe two, in me, so it’s
Greg Rutherford is supported by Home House: www.homehouse.co.uk