Greg Rutherford is targeting further Olympic glory, this time in the bobsleigh.
Despite having never sat in a bobsleigh before, the 34-year-old is set to attend a Great Britain bobsleigh team training camp in Gibraltar next month with the aim to earn a spot at the Winter Olympics in 2022.
“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 said.
Asher-Smith to compete against star-studded lineup in Gateshead
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.
Rutherford, an Olympic, world, European and Commonwealth long jump champion, retired in 2018 due to chronic pain. However, the monotony of lockdown led to his potential return to elite-level sport.
“It’s a funny old thing,” he told the Guardian.
I was very happily retired but during lockdown I started training again because I had nothing really to do. I still have a full setup at home, including a gym and a track with a long jump pit, and my body responded really well.
Some pain remains, he admits, but the mechanics of bobsleigh means it is manageable.
'I did go to the odd nightclub, possibly!' - Rutherford on life after Super Saturday
“My left ankle is still a bit dodgy,” he adds. “But the difference is that I’m not having to prepare to jump any more. And as soon as you remove that side of the movement, it makes my training a million times easier.”
Rutherford’s friend Kaillie Humphries, a gold medal winner with Canada in bobsleigh at the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics, heard that the Brit was back in training and encouraged him to try the discipline.
That led to Rutherford speaking with Lamin Deen, GB’s bobsleigh pilot, and GB bobsleigh coaches Steve Smith and John Herbert.
Rutherford has “every chance to succeed” Smith says. However, he also sounds a word of caution, telling the Guardian:
I am also brutally honest with him. It’s not a given that he will get in. Bobsleigh is not just about running down the ice. You also have a sled to contend with, you have got to know how to hit and load into that sled. It will be a steep learning curve.
Rutherford won gold at London 2012 on Super Saturday on August 4, with Jessica Ennis-Hill and Mo Farah also sealing gold.
'Athletes have the power' - Gemili will protest despite IOC ban
Team GB’s Zharnel Hughes yet to decide on sprint focus for Tokyo