Greg Rutherford, 2012 Olympic Champion, announces retirement

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Greg Rutherford is retiring. Good for Greg and his family. The long jumper who won gold in London 2012, Commonwealth Games 2014, European Champs 2014, World Championships 2015, and Rio 2016 bronze. Greg is hoping to compete in Berlin 2018 European Champs (he's won silver in European Champs 2006, gold in European 2014 and European 2016). I have always liked Greg Rutherford. I did not believe he got the respect that he deserved. The London 2012 Olympics, was magical. On the first Saturday of the athletic schedule. Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah and Greg Rutherford won British gold medals that night. The crowd of 80,000 was ecstatic. I was at the very top of the stadium, around fifty meters, and the sound was deafening! It must have been amazing from the track, looking up at the 80,000 British fans.

I have always admired Greg Rutherford. He was one of the athletes who understood that he had to do a dance with the media to get coverage of his sport. Greg was always very good, and I recall some funny pressers with Greg Rutherford and Valerie Adams in Birmingham for the Diamond League. The fun ones always stand out. Greg Rutherford has a wicked sense of humor.

The long jump is a technical event, a very technical event. Sore ankles challenge the athlete. Greg is hoping to finish this season with the European 2018 Championships. Below is the story by Stuart Weir.

Greg-Rutherford-Manchester-CityGames-2017-Philip-Oldham-1250x750.jpgGreg Rutherford, Arcadis Manchester City Games, May 2017, photo by Philip Oldham

Greg Rutherford is retiring in 2018.

Greg Rutherford has announced that 2018 will be his last season. He said: "It has not been an easy decision to make, and not one that I have made lightly, but I feel it is the right time to bring my career to a close at the end of 2018. I am not getting any younger and training isn't getting any easier and so I need to listen to my body and stop when the time is right."

"I have enjoyed so many great moments during my career and worked with and been on teams with some amazing people. I would like to thank everyone that has worked with me, in particular my coach Dan Pfaff, and those that have helped me achieve my dreams. I will never ever forget being part of Super Saturday at the London 2012 Olympic Games. I am extremely proud of everything that I have achieved on and off the runway, but that will go down as the greatest night of my athletics career.

Greg Rutherford.jpgGreg Rutherford, speaking about retirement, with Stuart Weir observing

"Making this decision now gives me enough time to compete around the country and say thank you to everyone who has supported me throughout my career. I am going to really enjoy competing for the last time on British soil and, should I get the chance, the opportunity to become the first man to win three successive European long jump titles. Once the summer is over, I am looking forward to spending time with my loving family and moving on to new challenges."

Rutherford is one of only five British athletes to have won the Olympic, World, European and Commonwealth 'grand slam'*. He holds both the British indoor (8.26m) and outdoor (8.51m) long jump records. He is best remembered - as he mentioned above - for winning Olympic gold on the Saturday evening when Jess Ennis, Mo Farah and he secured golds within 45 minutes of each other. He is also remembered for building a runway and sandpit in his backyard.

Despite his achievements he somehow never got the recognition he deserved with journalists sometimes writing that he had been lucky or that the opposition had been weak. When he won the European title in 2014, he greeted the press with the words, "Looks like I've fluked another one!"

An injury to his left ankle has left him in constant pain and therefore struggling with training. He hopes to gain selection for the European Championships this summer and to have a crack at a third European title, having won back-to-back European gold in 2014 and 2016.

He did not suffer fools gladly and gave honest rather than diplomatic replies to questions. However, I always found him amenable and helpful. I remember meeting him in an airport lounge in Stockholm, where he instantly insisted in getting me a coffee.

He is a great long-jumper who did his country proud. He will be sorely missed.

*The others are Daley Thompson, Linford Christie, Sally Gunnell, Jonathan Edwards.

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