After being forced to sit out the chance to defend his world long jump title, London 2012 gold medallist Greg Rutherford has a newfound focus for his 2018 season.
An ankle ligament injury and hernia of the groin left Rutherford devastated at having to miss another chance to compete in the London Stadium – the scene of his famous Olympic triumph.
Instead he watched on from the mixed zone as a summariser and interviewer for Eurosport, working with fellow former Olympic champion Jonathan Edwards.
Now though, back at home and with his mind turning to 2018, a new challenge has appeared.
“It was frustrating probably for the first two days, once the long jump was over though I completely fell into this whole role of talking about the sport and trying to give some form of opinion that was useful,” he said of his new role in front of the camera.
“But obviously I would have given anything to have been in that long jump competition because it was a great competition and one I think I would have absolutely thrived off.
“Fortunately I still managed to be involved and had the level of understanding of the event that I wouldn’t have had if I was just at home.
“I’m now focussed on getting fit and healthy again and having a very good year next year, and seeing what the future holds.
“I’ve got surgery in about two weeks’ time, that will hopefully repair the hole in my groin – which is the hernia I’ve got.
“From there I start the rehab process again, and the aim is to be ready for the indoor season next year.”
Already a gold medallist at all the major outdoor events in which he can compete, Rutherford is targeting a triple in 2018 – of more than one variety.
With the World Indoor Championships being held in Birmingham in March, and the Commonwealth Games following a month after before the European Championships in the summer, Rutherford has three significant targets in the next 12 months.
“I’m hoping that I’ll be fit and healthy and have a really good run at the three majors that there are next year,” added the 30-year-old, who will take part in the #teamparkrun event on Saturday, August 19, as a tail walker at his local event in Milton Keynes.
“If I end up winning the Europeans again I think I’ll set a record of three on the trot, which a long jumper hasn’t done before.
“So I’m excited by the prospect of next year and really focussed on that going well.”
Away from the competitive aspect of sport, Rutherford will take the opportunity to say thank you to all those that have supported him in recent years by joining the #teamparkrun initiative this weekend.
With Olympians and Paralympians joining in with their local parkrun across the country this Saturday, Rutherford will be just one athlete taking the opportunity – in conjunction with UK Sport and the National Lottery – to promote an active lifestyle while also saying thank you to fans and lottery players.
“It’s quite an important thing to do,” he added. “I’ve always been a strong advocate for getting people involved in fitness and health, and parkrun is a really nice way to start that.
“When I was a National Lottery funded athlete, up until 2012, it was a hugely important part of my life.
“It gave me the opportunity to train full time and get to the level I needed to compete.
“It’s the same scenario for those that are funded now. It’s something that really genuinely helps.”