Greg Rutherford: Former Olympic long jump champion named in Great Britain bobsleigh squad

Greg Rutherford won Olympic long jump gold at London 2012 and took bronze four years later in Rio

Former Olympic long jump champion Greg Rutherford has been named in one of the Great Britain bobsleigh squads that will attempt to qualify for the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing.

No Briton has won medals at both the summer and winter Olympics.

“This has been a huge undertaking, going from a very retired former athlete to retraining in a new sport,” Rutherford wrote on Instagram.

“A massive thank you to everyone who has helped thus far.”

Rutherford won gold on ‘Super Saturday’ at the London Olympics in 2012 and took bronze four years later in Rio.

He retired from the long jump in 2018 but decided to take up bobsleigh after returning to training during the national lockdown in 2020.

Rutherford will compete in the four-man event only and will be piloted by double Olympic bobsleigh driver Lamin Deen.

Joel Fearon, who was part of the four-man team that was upgraded to bronze at the 2014 Winter Olympics, has also been named alongside Ben Simons and Toby Olubi.

Britain hope to qualify for both the two and four-man event in Beijing, with a separate crew piloted by Brad Hall also attempting to reach the Games.

They hope to have two crews in the four man and at least one in the two man.

“We start competing in a couple of months’ time with the medal dream very much alive,” Rutherford added.

British Bobsleigh is also aiming to qualify in the two-women bobsleigh and the monobob.

They will need to come within the top 12 in three of the seven qualifying events, with the first event taking place in Austria in November.

‘A transferable skill’

Rutherford had been retired almost three years before he started training for the bobsleigh but the former long jump champion told BBC Breakfast his “transferable” skills have made him the right fit for the sport.

“I’m lucky that I’m able to run fast and produce power – that’s the ultimate combination for the bobsleigh,” he said.

Current British bobsleigh coach John Hurdle is a former triple jumper, while former US hurdler Lolo Jones also made the switch and competed in the 2014 Winter Olympics.

“For long jumpers, triple jumpers and sprinters it’s definitely transferable. I weight about 16kg more than I did when I was competing, but the good thing about bobsleigh is that you’re allowed to be quite heavy.”

‘We’ll aim to do something amazing together’

Team GB’s last bobsleigh medal came in 2014 in Russia and Rutherford believes the team are in for a “special winter” as they prepare for the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing.

“I think we have a great opportunity to win a medal again,” he added.

“Of course we’ve still got to qualify for the Olympics, but we’ll aim to do something amazing together.

“We’ll be standing there together looking to do the ultimate and it’s most certainly possible. I’m very excited about it and I think it’s going to be a really special winter.”

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