Greg Rutherford, the forgotten man of Olympics ready to leap into public eye

Long jumper dismisses funding and injury woes before World Championships

Greg Rutherford recently pondered the idea of sitting down to dinner with his fellow golden stars of Super Saturday once their careers are over to relive those heady moments.

Were they to meet up today, exactly 12 months on from that amazing day, the 26-year-old admits that part of him would remain starstruck. "Despite the fact I've known them for a long time, they're really big names," he explains.

In many ways, Rutherford is not. He is, like Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis-Hill, an Olympic champion, but does not have the back-up of having shone at other major championships. He has been in the top 10 since he started senior competitions in 2005, but his previous medal bests have been two silvers: in the 2006 European Championships and the Commonwealth Games in 2010.

As a result, he has in some ways become the forgotten one of that trio from a year ago, certainly with regard to sponsors. While his Super Saturday stalwarts have signed lucrative contracts, Rutherford has even fewer sponsors than at London 2012. In fact, his current sponsor count reads zero.

"The major problem is the economic climate doesn't help with the situation," he admits. "It shows how well it went as there were 29 [British] gold medallists and only a certain amount of things to go around. I've not received any of the financial aid that others have. I'm working harder now than I ever was. As yet, it hasn't worked."

At least for the time being, concerns over financial backing are not part of his mindset as he turns his attention to competing at the World Championships.

Two weeks ago a hamstring tear meant he was deemed to have a five per cent chance of taking the vacant long-jump spot in the British team. By the weekend, that had risen to 50 per cent and last week he was finally declared fit to travel.

The rate of recovery would have been nothing short of miraculous for most athletes but Rutherford is used to being injured – with hamstring tears in particular – and, it would seem that as a result, his body is freakishly fast in repairing. In some ways, he is resigned to the injuries, in others buoyed by them and the fact he knows he can compete even with little preparation time.

"The 2009 season was identical – I tore my hamstring just before Berlin and then jumped 8.30 metres," he recalls. "Those sorts of scenarios give me confidence. This year hasn't gone to plan anywhere near as it did last year. Knowing that last year went well, I will draw on those experiences. Even with a pretty big injury at not a great time, I've recovered really well. I'm feeling fit and strong again. I'm really confident I stand a great chance."

The selection process has been harsh on Chris Tomlinson, his rival long jumper who was fully fit at the time the team was initially selected. But UK Athletics performance director, Neil Black, used his discretionary powers to leave the long jump berth vacant and give Rutherford enough time to prove his fitness. Tomlinson, without the "A" standard, was omitted as a result.

As such, the onus is on Britain's one representative in the long jump pit in Moscow to produce the goods. For his part, there is no lack of confidence, having finished in the top three of all his competitions to date this season bar the Diamond League in Paris where he picked up his injury. He also wants to prove London 2012 was not just a one-off.

"I want multiple major medals and to jump big," he adds. "At 26, I like to think there's plenty of years to win major championships. I want to add another medal to my tally."

Five men have jumped further than his Olympic effort of 8.31 metres this year. Mexico's Luis Rivera has set the benchmark with 8.46 but Russian Aleksander Menkov has been the most consistent jumper.

Rutherford says: "There's a target on my back and they like to beat me, but a bit of pressure has shifted on to Menkov as he's jumping well all year and it's a major championships in his country."

To prepare, Rutherford has undertaken boxing and hill runs with his dogs. Much of it has been a lonely path having recently parted with his coach, Dan Pfaff, following his return to the United States and Rutherford's inability to meet the costs of relocating there. The pair still liaise by email but Rutherford admits: "Dan was great in passing on his knowledge so I keep a level of understanding. I've got to get it done myself."

To win gold in Moscow, Rutherford thinks 8.50 will possibly be needed, 15 centimetres further than he has jumped before. But he thought the same in London and came away as Olympic champion with 8.31. Now back to fitness, he is confident of a repeat.

News
scienceExcitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
News
newsRyan Crighton goes in search of the capo dei capi
Extras
indybest

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Actors front row from left, Jared Leto, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Ellen DeGeneres, Bradley Cooper, Peter Nyongío Jr., and, second row, from left, Channing Tatum, Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, Brad Pitt, Lupita Nyongío and Angelina Jolie as they pose for a
film
Sport
sport
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Life and Style
news

As Voltaire once said, “Ice cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal”

Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Network Engineer - CCNP, Hedge Fund, London

£50000 - £60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Network Engineer - CCNP, Hedge Fu...

Senior Network Engineer-CCIE, Multicast, Low Latency

£60000 - £70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Network Engineer-CCIE, Mul...

Network Infrastructure Engineer

£30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Network Infrastructure Engineer (...

Network Engineer (CCNP, BGP, Multicast)

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Network Engineer (CCNP, BGP, Mult...

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition