Rutherford at the victory parade for the 2012 Summer Olympics
|Full name||Gregory James Rutherford|
17 November 1986 |
Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, England
|Height||1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)|
|Weight||87 kg (192 lb)|
|Club||Marshall Milton Keynes Athletics Club|
|Achievements and titles|
|Personal best(s)||Long Jump 8.51 m (Chula Vista 2014)
100m 10.26 (Gateshead 2010)
|Updated on 25 April 2014.|
Gregory James Rutherford, MBE (born 17 November 1986) is an English athlete who specialises in the long jump and also competes as a sprinter. He won the long jump gold medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics, 2014 Commonwealth Games and 2014 European Athletics Championships, and is the current British record holder for this event.
Rutherford grew up in Bletchley, Milton Keynes where he attended Two Mile Ash Primary School and went on to Denbigh School. He is the great-grandson of footballer Jock Rutherford, who won three Football League First Division titles with Newcastle United and 11 England caps, and is also the oldest player ever to have played for Arsenal; his grandfather also played for Arsenal. Rutherford played several sports as a youth including football, rugby and badminton. He had trials with Premiership football club Aston Villa as a teenager before deciding to pursue a career in athletics.
Rutherford became the youngest ever winner of the long jump event at the AAA Championships in 2005, aged 18. He also won the European Junior Championships that year, setting a British junior record of 8.14 m.
Rutherford was selected to represent England at the 2006 Commonwealth Games, where he finished 8th. He won the AAA championships again that year with a jump of 8.26 m. On 8 August 2006, he won the silver medal in the long jump at the European Athletics Championships in Gothenburg with a jump of 8.13 m.
Rutherford missed much of the 2007 season due to a succession of injury problems, including an ankle injury for which he had surgery in February of that year. He competed at the 2007 World Championships but did not reach the final, finishing 21st in the qualifying round.
Rutherford won the AAA title on 12 July 2008, reaching the Olympic qualifying distance of 8.20m. He also won the London Grand Prix at Crystal Palace two weeks later with a distance of 8.16 m. At the 2008 Olympics in Beijing Rutherford qualified for the final in third place with a distance of 8.16 m. In the final, he had two no-jumps in the first two rounds, and recorded a distance of 7.84 m in the third round. This was not enough to place him in the top 8 who would continue to the final three rounds, and he finished in 10th place.
Rutherford set a British record of 8.30 m on 20 August 2009 in the qualifying round of the World Athletics Championships in Berlin, improving the previous record held by Chris Tomlinson by 1 cm. He was unable to match this performance in the final of the event, finishing fifth with a jump of 8.17 m.
Rutherford did not compete at the 2010 European Championships due to a foot injury. On 18 September he set a personal best for the 100 m of 10.26 seconds in the invitational event at the Great North City Games. At the 2010 Commonwealth Games, he won the silver medal with a jump of 8.22 m.
Rutherford extended his personal best in the long jump to 8.32 m at the Eugene Diamond League meeting on 4 June 2011, although it was not recognised as a British record as it was wind assisted. In July 2011 Chris Tomlinson broke Rutherford's British record with a jump of 8.35 m in Paris. At the 2011 World Championships, Rutherford injured a hamstring during the qualifying round and did not reach the final.
After the 2011 season, Rutherford worked on his take-off technique with his coach Dan Pfaff, adopting a technique based on that of Carl Lewis of making the penultimate step of the approach a lateral step outwards.
Rutherford equalled Tomlinson's British record on 3 May 2012 with a jump of 8.35 m at the OTC Pre-Olympic Series II event in Chula Vista, California. It was also the longest jump of 2012 at the time (later equalled by Sergey Morgunov on 20 June).
At the 2012 Olympics in London, Rutherford reached the final with a jump of 8.08 m, qualifying in fourth place. In the final, he took the lead in the second round with a jump of 8.21 m, improving to 8.31 m in the fourth round which proved to be the winning jump. Rutherford became the second British man to win Olympic gold in the long jump, the first was Lynn Davies in 1964. Although his winning distance of 8.31 m was the shortest since 1972, it was 15 cm ahead of silver medallist Mitchell Watt and his second-best jump of 8.21 m would also have been enough to win the gold. Rutherford's gold was one of three won by British track and field athletes on the evening of 4 August 2012 (the others were won by Jessica Ennis in the heptathlon and Mo Farah in the men's 10,000 m); this was the first time that three gold medals had been won by British athletes in the same Olympic athletics session.
Following his gold medal, Rutherford (as with the other British 2012 Olympic champions) was featured on a Royal Mail postage stamp, and two post boxes in Milton Keynes were painted gold in his honour.
Rutherford parted company with Dan Pfaff, his coach, in early 2013, when Pfaff returned to his native United States.
Rutherford sustained a hamstring injury during the Paris Diamond League meeting on 6 July, which forced him to withdraw midway through the competition. British Athletics delayed announcing their selection for the men's long jump at the World Championships due to the injury, but on 30 July Rutherford's selection was confirmed after he passed fitness tests. At the championships Rutherford failed to reach the final, finishing 14th in the qualifying round on 14 August with a jump of 7.87 m. In the autumn of 2013 Rutherford appointed Jonas Tawiah-Dodoo as his coach. Tawiah-Dodoo also coaches 100m 2013 European Junior Champion Chijindu Ujah and 200m 2011 European Junior Champion David Bolarinwa. Rutherford's decision to work with a sprint coach was inspired by advice from former World and Olympic long jump champion Dwight Phillips.
In February 2014, Rutherford said he would trial for the winter sports events of bobsleigh and skeleton, in the hope of competing in the 2018 Winter Olympics. He told The Guardian: "There is something about going down the ice head first that massively appeals to me. I genuinely want to try skeleton and bobsleigh. [...] If I am good enough, my plan will be to continue through to the summer Olympics and after 2016 either switch or spend my winters doing the new sport." In April, at an early season event at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California, Rutherford jumped a personal best of 8.51 m, setting a new British record. The new record was disputed by rival long-jumper Chris Tomlinson, who used video evidence to suggest the jump was illegal, but a technical panel assembled by UK Athletics deemed the video evidence to be inconclusive, and the record was upheld.
In 2012, Rutherford, along with fellow athlete Louis Smith took part in an episode of The Million Pound Drop Live as part of their 'Celebrity Games' series. In 2013, he appeared in an episode of Fake Reaction and took part in a celebrity special edition of The Cube.
Rutherford was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours for services to athletics. In July 2013, he was awarded an honorary doctorate of science by the University of Bedfordshire.
He is a fan of Manchester United. Rutherford is an Athlete Ambassador for the global sport for development charity Right To Play. In August 2014, Rutherford was one of 200 public figures who were signatories to a letter to The Guardian opposing Scottish independence in the run-up to September's referendum on that issue.
|60 metres (indoor)||6.68 seconds||Birmingham, United Kingdom||21 February 2009|
|100 metres||10.26 seconds||Gateshead, United Kingdom||18 September 2010|
|Long jump||8.51 m||Chula Vista, California||25 April 2014||British record|
|2005||European Junior Championships||Kaunas, Lithuania||1st||8.14 m|
|2006||Commonwealth Games||Melbourne, Australia||8th||7.85 m|
|European Championships||Gothenburg, Sweden||2nd||8.13 m|
|2008||Olympic Games||Beijing, China||10th||7.84 m|
|2009||World Championships||Berlin, Germany||5th||8.17 m|
|2010||Commonwealth Games||New Delhi, India||2nd||8.22 m|
|2012||Olympic Games||London, England||1st||8.31 m|
|2014||Commonwealth Games||Glasgow, Scotland||1st||8.20 m|
|European Championships||Zurich, Switzerland||1st||8.29 m|
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