Greg Rutherford reveals he’s secretly joined the GB Bobsleigh squad and is training to become the first Briton to win summer and winter Olympic medals – while juggling a new baby and a home renovation project
- The retired British track and field athlete, 34, has joined the GB bobsleigh squad
- Former long jumper says he used first lockdown to get ‘fit and strong’ again
- Believes there are transferable skills but admitted he’s yet to sit on bobsleigh
Greg Rutherford has revealed he’s secretly joined the Team GB Bobsleigh squad in an attempt to become the first Briton to win summer and winter Olympic medals.
The retired track and field athlete, 34, who took gold in long jump at London 2012, is deep in training to compete at Beijing 2022 – all while juggling a new baby and renovating a house.
Appearing on BBC Breakfast this morning, the father-of-three, who welcomed his third child with fiancée Susie Verrill, 32, last month, admitted he is yet to sit in a bobsleigh, which can reach speeds of up to 90mph, but is keen to make history at the winter games in February.
‘What I’ve done this year, to really throw the pressure on myself, we had a new baby four weeks ago, so I have a third child now, we’re renovating a house, and I’m attempting to make an Olympics in 10 months from nothing. It’s going to be an interesting year!’ he told hosts Sally Nugent and Chris Mason.
Greg Rutherford has revealed he’s secretly joined the Team GB Bobsleigh squad in an attempt to become the first Briton to win summer and winter Olympic medals (appearing on BBC Breakfast this morning)
‘I love a challenge, and I think this one is quite a big challenge! I’m attempting to go from never sitting in a bobsleigh at all to winning an Olympic medal in 10 months.’
British record holder Greg, who announced his retirement due to an ankle injury three years ago, said he began training again when the Covid-19 lockdown hit last year because there ‘wasn’t a lot else’ to do.
‘I managed to get quite fit and strong quickly, and then a good friend of mine, Kallie Humphries, who is one of the most successful female bobsleighers of all time [winning gold for Canada in the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics and bronze in 2018], she reached out and said you’ve got to give it a go,’ he explained.
‘She’s been saying this for probably the last seven or eight years, but it intensified slightly because of the situation and it started negging away at me slightly, and I thought, do you know what? I’ll have a chat with the guys involved, and here we are now.’
Father of three Greg welcomed his third child, daughter Daphne, with fiancée Susie Verrill , 32, last month
Greg and Susie (pictured) are already parents to sons Milo, six, and Rex, three, and were thrilled to add daughter Daphne to their brood, sharing a series of sweet Instagram posts to celebrate her arrival
The athlete, who represented Great Britain at the Olympics, World and European Championships, and England at the Commonwealth Games in long jump, insisted there are transferable skills between the two sports.
‘I think over the years we’ve seen quite a few people able to make the transfer from one sport to another and I think when it’s speed power that is the main factor involved, as it was for me – jumping you need a lot of power, and it’s very similar in bobsleigh,’ he explained.
‘I think what’s been really interesting from my point of view is how well received I’ve been by the British Bobsleigh team.
‘I didn’t want to go in there and say, “I used to be a good athlete, I’m sure I can go there and make it”. I appreciate there’s an awful lot of hard work that goes into it, I’m currently training very hard again, but it’s just the fact that they said come in with arms open, you can be an asset to this team, and that’s really got me excited.’
Greg, who represented Great Britain at the Olympics, World and European Championships, and England at the Commonwealth Games in long jump, insisted there are transferable skills between the two sports
Greg said he’s been welcomed into the GB Bobleigh team with open arms. Pictured: Bobsledders Brad Hall, Greg Cackett, Nick Gleeson and Joel Fearon of Britain training for the men’s four-man bobsleigh competition during the 2018 Winter Olympic Games
He added that he gave the skeleton bobsleigh a go in 2014 and ‘loved whizzing down head first’, but feels he’s better suited to bobsleigh as he can use his skills and raw ability to help the team.
Greg said his frame is now much bigger than it was when he was a long jumper, revealing he weighs around 14-15kg more.
‘If I attempted to jump again it would be a complete disaster,’ he joked. ‘What I’ve found is, if I’m training without having to worry about the jumping side of it, my body responds a lot better, I’m not having the same amount of pain in my left ankle as I used to.’
Greg said he’s enjoying training by going running in his local woods and plans to buy a shipping container to fill with gym equipment.
‘I built a strip of track in my garden when I was a long jumper. I always invested into my own career and I think there’s an opportunity here to do the same,’ he explained.
Greg was urged to get involved in the sport by Kallie Humphries, pictured, who is one of the most successful female bobsleighers of all time, winning gold for Canada in the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics and bronze in 2018
Yesterday Greg told the Guardian he will – Covid permitting – attend a team training camp in Gibraltar, having been told by GB Bobsleigh coaches he has ‘every chance’ of making the games.
‘I’m not doing this merely to turn up to finish 25th,’ he said. ‘I intend to train incredibly hard, get myself on to the team, and then win a medal. And if we get the right sled, and have the perfect run, anything is possible. Even gold.’
GB Bobsleigh is no longer funded by UK Sport, meaning they’re forced to rely on a sled first used in the 2006 Winter Olympics, which is two-tenths of a second slower than the more modern aerodynamic models owned by rival teams.
But Greg said he hopes a company like Ineos will lend its support to help put them on a level playing field and bolster their chances of winning a medal.
Greg and Susie are already parents to sons Milo, six, and Rex, three, and were thrilled to add daughter Daphne to their brood, sharing a series of sweet Instagram posts to celebrate her arrival.
The couple met in 2012, exchanging messages for two months before enjoying a bowling date together – and hit it off instantly. They welcomed first son Milo in Oct 2014 with Rex arriving in July 2017. Greg proposed to Susie in May 2019 during a hike in Arizona.
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