Greg Rutherford burst into the public consciousness on 4 August 2012 when he took a surprise long jump gold for Team GB at the London Olympics in what became known as Super Saturday. But could he complete the double with a Commonwealth Games win in Glasgow?
By his own admission, the time since London has been “torrid” for Greg, with a potentially career-ending hamstring injury, a change of coaching staff, loss of sponsorship and the constant buzz of doubters who dismissed him as a one-win wonder. Further injury in the lead-up to the games almost prevented his attendance at Glasgow 2014 but Greg was determined to soldier on, undergoing an epidural just 10 days before the competition to dampen down a nerve problem.
The mister and I arrived at Hampden Park for the athletics session on Wednesday evening and were beyond excited to find that our seats were right in front of the long jump area. Competing as part of Team England, Greg quickly established the lead with his first jump of 8.12m. This distance was eventually equalled by South Africa’s Zarck Visser. Greg responded with a leap of 8.20m, which although far from his best turned out to be more than sufficient to secure gold.
The relief and joy on Greg’s face when he realised that he had become the Commonwealth long jump champion was a sporting memory to treasure, as was his lap of honour to thank the enthusiastic crowd. And I won’t lie – I got totally caught up in the emotion of it all and blubbed my way through the medal ceremony.
Despite resoundingly proving his critics wrong in Glasgow, it seems that Greg is not one to rest on his laurels. Next up is the European Championships in Zürich and then he’s planning a foray into the adrenaline-fuelled world of winter sports with a trial of the skeleton bob lined up for later this year.
If all goes well, we might soon be seeing this amiable character making his mark in the Winter Olympics too.