After revealing his intention to have a go at winter sports in an interview with The Guardian, Greg Rutherford confirmed he is serious in his plans at the Indoor Grand Prix, in Birmingham.
The Olympic long jump champion, who registered a leap of eight metres to finish third at the event in Birmingham, told VincoSport he wants to have a go at the skeleton and bobsleigh after assessing “where he is athletically” once he has finished competing at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
He said he has been told by Winter Olympian and world champion skeleton bobsleigher Shelly Rudman he has “the right attributes to succeed in winter sports.”
Rutherford went on to state he knew he was not guaranteed to be an instant hit at either sport but was keen to give it a go. He would not be the first long jumper to switch to another discipline, either, as fellow Brit Jasmine Sawyers has won medals in both the long jump and the bobsleigh at world junior level.
Other British athletes who have competed in track and field and at bobsleigh include sprinters Craig Pickering and Joel Fearon. Pickering unfortunately injured himself before this year’s Winter Olympics, while Fearon, who was part of the GB 4x100m squad in Moscow, is an established part of the bobsleigh team.
After an injury blighted 2013, Rutherford has changed coaches to Jonas Tawiah-Dodoo after parting company with Dan Pfaff to stay in the UK. Tawiah-Dodoo is mainly known as a sprint coach, and Rutherford has gone on record saying he is hoping to improve his speed work to help him jump further.
Speed is the main attribute needed for brakemen in the bobsleigh where both Pickering and Fearon operate, and it’s for this reason Rutherford thinks he can make a go of the event. He also revealed he “grew up skiing and loves winter sports” and would love the chance to see if he can be successful at the Winter Olympics.
His more immediate ambitions include winning gold at the Commonwealth Games in August where Rutherford feels he has “unfinished business” after coming home with silver from the Delhi games, in 2010, and believes he is somewhere near his best after the disappointment of last year where he didn’t make the World Championship final in the long jump after tearing his hamstring earlier in the season.