Greg Rutherford, gold medal, Long Jump, London Olympics,
photo by PhotoRun.net
Super Saturday it was. In a period of thirty plus minutes, Jessica Ennis took gold in the heptathlon, running a tough and gutty 800 meters to complete her new British record. Then, Greg Rutherford cemented his win in the long jump with a fourth round 8.31 meter jump and finally, Mo Farah became the first Brit to win the Olympic 10,000 meters. As Athletics Weekly noted so well, this was the best night in British track & field in at least 100 years. 80,000 British fans agreed and cheered on all three athletes.
Last night, however, at dinner with some former British athletes who should know a bit, when I asked them about Greg Rutherford, they smiled and said his performance was brilliant and that his moment was a bit overshadowed.
I am trying to right that, here is Mr. Rutherford's brilliant performance as I saw it.
Will Claye, the American combo long jump and triple jumper put pressure on the
field right away with his 7.98m first round. But, it was Chris Tomlinson's 8.06m
that woke everyone up in round 1. Greg Rutherford, the British record holder,
mustered 6.28m for the first jump, an inauspicious start to the Olympic final.
Mitchell Watt, the world leader, fouled in round 1.
Now, consider this, with 80,000 screaming fans, one could easily opine that any
athlete, any person for that matter (besides Mick Jagger, Ron Wood, or perhaps
the Spice Girls) might get shaken up the first time they see such a home crowd.
In round 2, Greg Rutherford jumped 8.21m, to an immediate roar of appreciation
from the crowd. Mitchell Watt got on the board with a jump of 7.97m and Will Claye
moved into second, with 8.07m. Tomlinson, in third place, answered the big jumps with
In round 3, Greg Rutherford jumped 8.14m, now having the two longest jumps of the
competition. Michel Torneus jumped 8.07m, to move into second, with Will Claye in
third and Chris Tomlinson in fourth. Watt, who seemed to be having trouble with his
marks, fouled a second time.
Round 4 was hot. Maura Da Silva hit 8.01m. Then, Chris Tomlinson improved to 8.07m,
putting him back in medal fight, but for just a bit. Sebastian Boyer, after a 7.87m, a foul
and a 7.97, jumped 8.10m, putting himself into second place. Michel Torneus jumped an
8.11m, to move into silver, and then, Will Claye jumped 8.12m, showing that he wanted
that silver medal even more. Watt fouls again, and then, Rutherford went to the runway,
and produced the jump of the meet, a fine 8.31 meters on a nearly windless night!
Clearly in the lead, Rutherford watched the next two rounds as various athletes tried to knock
him off his thrown. From his venue, he could see Jessica Ennis win the heptathlon and Mo
Farah battle the best 10,000 meters in the world.
Round five produced an 8.07m from Torneus and Mitchell Watt finally got on the board with an
8.13m jump, giving him the highly congested lead for the silver. Watt finally seemed to
have his steps down, could he mount a last round challenge to Rutherford?
Round six saw no one improve until Mitchell Watt. Watt got off his best jump of the night,
a strong 8.16m jump, giving him the silver and Will Claye the bronze.
In an anti climactic jump, an already beaming Greg Rutherford jumped 6.33m, but no one
cared, as Greg Rutherford game Great Britain its second gold in twenty minutes. Seven minutes
and thirty one odd seconds later, Mo Farah joined Greg Rutherford and Jessica Ennis
as the British gold medal trio from August 4, 2012.
But in this moment, Greg Rutherford cemented himself as not only a well liked athlete,
but as the premier British Long Jumper of his generation. An Olympic gold medalist is
nothing to sneer at. Worship, yes, as Greg Rutherford, in the toughest stadium in the
world, his home Olympic stadium, produced.
04 August 2012 - 19:55
|7||1219||Mauro Vinicius da Silva||BRA||8.01||(-0.1)||.|
|8||2785||Godfrey Khotso Mokoena||RSA||7.93||(-2.3)||.|
|Mauro Vinicius da Silva||X||X||7.96|
|Godfrey Khotso Mokoena||7.93|