Brit Greg Rutherford, the 2012 Olympic long jump champion who retired from track and field in 2018, is returning to sport as a bobsled push athlete, bidding to make the 2022 Olympics.
“I’m coming back, and I intend to make history,” Rutherford said, according to the Guardian. “I know most people believe it is impossible to go from never having attempted a sport to winning an Olympic medal in under a year. But I 100% disagree. I’m not doing this merely to turn up to finish 25th. 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.”
Rutherford retired from long jumping at age 31, citing injuries. He left having conquered every major event, following his “Super Saturday” Olympic gold in London with titles at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, 2014 European Championships and 2015 World Championships, plus a bronze in Rio.
His move into bobsled is the product of working out during lockdown and a nudge from Kaillie Humphries, a two-time Olympic bobsled champion for Canada who is bidding to make the U.S. Olympic team for 2022, according to the Guardian.
Humphries and Rutherford have each been coached by Arizona-based Stu McMillan.
If all goes well, Rutherford can become the latest convert from track and field to bobsled. Just last season, sprinters James Dasaolu and Joel Fearon were push athletes in British sleds at the world championships. Dasaolu and Fearon are two of 10 British men in history to break 10 seconds in the 100m.
Some of the most famous track and field athletes to make Olympic bobsled teams are Americans, including Lauryn Williams and Lolo Jones. In 2014, Williams became the fifth athlete to win Summer and Winter Games medals, less than a year after taking up bobsled.
Rutherford can become the sixth, though the British men had a top finish of 11th at the world championships in February.
The top British men’s sled at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games was 12th. A British four-man sled that originally finished fifth in 2014 was upgraded to bronze due to disqualifications of Russians for doping. That marked Great Britain’s lone bobsled medal finish since 1998.
Rutherford previously teased a move to bobsled or skeleton in 2014 but never competed.
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