Greg Rutherford: Long Jumper Retires And Sets Sights On Two Wheels

Can he make a successful transition?

Greg Rutherford has closed the chapter on his long jump career but has set his sights on joining the likes of Ed Clancy, Jason Kenny and Callum Skinner as he hopes to take to the track as part of British Cycling’s program.

Unlike fellow Olympian, Sir Bradley Wiggins, who has switched from the track to the water as he hopes to chase a dream of being part of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic rowing team, Rutherford will aim to switch to the track.

In an interview with The Guardian the 31-year-old said that he was “realistic” about his chances but wanted to give it a go.

“I used to do a lot of BMX as a kid and I’ve been a mountain biker all my life, so the idea of seeing what I can do on a track bike really appeals,” he said. “Of course I am realistic but, given I can produce a very large amount of power on a Watt bike, I want to see what I can do.

“I know some people will dismiss the idea but I can’t understand the negativity,” he adds. “After all, other athletes have switched sports.

“Look at Marquise Goodwin, who was a London 2012 finalist in the long jump and is now an NFL wide receiver. I do a lot of bike workouts at the moment and it doesn’t hurt my body. So why not give it a go?

“The people I’ve spoken to at British Cycling have not said, ‘no chance’. They’ve said ‘try’. So I am going to do some lab testing.”

One of the main reasons for Rutherford’s retirement from British track and field athletics is the amount of pain his body is put through on the impact sport.

“At times I am in so much pain I can’t even sit on the floor and play with my two kids,” he said. “I still feel I am fast. I still feel as if I am super strong. But whenever I try to sprint or jump I have to take three days off because I am limping so much. In the end it wears you down.”

Could Rutherford make the switch and win a gold medal as part of Britain’s incredibly successful track team or will this be one leap too far?