Greg Rutherford won his first senior medal as a teenager at the 2006 European Championships in Gothenburg and the now 31-year-old is looking to bow out by making history at the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships.
No man has ever won three successive European long jump titles (Heike Drechsler famously won four successive women’s long jump titles between 1986 and 1998) but Rutherford is in contention for the hat-trick. Rutherford won gold in Zurich 2014 before successfully retaining his title in Amsterdam two years later.
“Making this decision now gives me enough time to compete around the country and say thank you to everyone who has supported me throughout my career. I am going to really enjoy competing for the last time on British soil and, should I get the chance, the opportunity to become the first man to win three successive European long jump titles. Once the summer is over, I am looking forward to spending time with my loving family and moving on to new challenges,” said Rutherford.
Rutherford is only one of five British athletes to hold Olympic, European, Commonwealth and world titles simultaneously. He completed the set at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing in 2015 but he was unable to defend his title in London two years later owing to an ankle injury.
Rutherford made a tentative return during the indoor season but deemed his form insufficient to compete at the World Indoor Championships in Birmingham.
“It has not been an easy decision to make, and not one that I have made lightly, but I feel it is the right time to bring my career to a close at the end of 2018. I am not getting any younger and training isn’t getting any easier and so I need to listen to my body and stop when the time is right,” said Rutherford.
— Team GB (@TeamGB) June 13, 2018
As well as winning a Grand Slam of major senior titles, Rutherford holds the British indoor (8.26m) and outdoor (8.51m) records in the long jump, the latter putting him sixth on the European all-time lists behind Robert Emmiyan (8.86m), Louis Tsatoumas (8.66m), Yago Lamela (8.56m), Aleksandr Menkov (8.54m) and Lutz Dombrowski (8.54m).
“I have enjoyed so many great moments during my career and worked with and been on teams with some amazing people. I would like to thank everyone that has worked with me, in particular my coach Dan Pfaff, and those that have helped me achieve my dreams. I will never ever forget being part of Super Saturday at the London 2012 Olympic Games. I am extremely proud of everything that I have achieved on and off the runway, but that will go down as the greatest night of my athletics career,” he added.
More information on the 2018 European Championships:
- The Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships will be part of the first multi-sport European Championships along with co-hosts Glasgow.
- It will be a must-watch, must-attend experience that elevates the status of European Champions, uniting existing European Championships to celebrate the highest honour in European sport and celebrating the defining moments that create Champions.
- It is the continent’s ultimate multi-sport event, an 11-day celebration of European sport staged every four years.
- Seven of Europe’s leading sports (athletics, aquatics, rowing, golf, cycling, gymnastics, triathlon) will be brought together for the first edition.
- The European Athletics Championships in Berlin will be staged 7-12 August. The six other sports will be staged in Glasgow through 2-12 August.
- 4500 athletes and 52 nations will compete across the seven sports.
- Potential TV audience of over one billion with millions more across multiple digital platforms.
- Over half a million spectators expected.