Rutherford: This is just the beginning

05 August 2012 / 15:36

Long jump champion Greg Rutherford has vowed to win more major titles after recounting the amazing contrast between his Olympic experiences.

Rutherford's Olympic debut in 2008 ended in agony after he was found barely conscious in his room in the athletes' village and rushed to hospital in Beijing. Four years on, the 25-year-old from Milton Keynes was celebrating winning gold in front of 80,000 people in London on the same night that Jessica Ennis and Mo Farah also triumphed.

"Very different times," Rutherford said. "Going into Beijing I was in a pretty bad place emotionally due to what was happening with my grandfather (who had been diagnosed with cancer). He sadly passed away just before I left. On top of that I went down with multiple illnesses, a kidney infection and a lung infection and then tonsillitis, so I wasn't exactly in the best shape to compete."

He added: "It was the day in between qualifying and the final, I woke up and ran downstairs because my throat had swollen up completely and I was desperately trying to get something in me that would calm it all down.

"I tried to make it look as if I was fine but I didn't have the edge I needed to compete (in the final). Emotionally I was completely drained and physically everything was just zapped from my body.

"I went through that (finishing 10th) and with the emotional crash afterwards my body seemed to shut down and I was found in my bed by my room-mate, not really very responsive, and then the doctors came up, put me in the back of an ambulance, took me to hospital, pumped me full of whatever I needed and a few days later I was back home in bed recovering."

Rutherford has been plagued by injuries throughout his career after winning European silver in 2006 aged 19, including in last year's World Championships in Daegu where he suffered a hamstring tear in qualifying.

But working with American "super coach" Dan Pfaff has been instrumental in his success this year, especially as Pfaff worked alongside Tom Tellez when Tellez coached four-time Olympic long jump champion Carl Lewis.

Rutherford has been copying bits of Lewis' technique and although it may be asking too much to match his achievement as well, Rutherford is certainly ambitious.

"My aim has always been to win major medals," added Rutherford, whose winning distance of 8.31m was the shortest since 1972. "I picked up a couple of minor ones at Commonwealths and Europeans and was never happy with that. Coming into this one it was nice to have that feel of people don't expect me to do this, but I was always thinking I could win the Olympics."