Athletics
Nick Bewley 28d

Greg Rutherford has sights set on further success before retirement

Olympic Sports

He might be entering the twilight of his career but former Olympic and world champion long jumper Greg Rutherford is determined to add to his already impressive list of accolades.

The 30-year old Milton Keynes native has set his sights on a third consecutive European crown in Berlin next year and hasn't ruled out a tilt at what would be a fourth Olympics at Tokyo 2020.

But Rutherford knows it won't be easy as age begins to catch up with him.

An ankle issue prevented him from defending his 2015 world title in London in August, while he also had surgery to fix an ongoing groin injury earlier this month.

"I'm always evaluating [my goals] depending on how my body feels. For me, I always have goals of winning, that's how it has always been," Rutherford said from DNAFit's headquarters in London.

"I have a European Championships next year which is quite important to me because if I win that one that will be three on the trot and I'll be the first long jumper to ever do that.

"These goals are things now that I am coming towards the end of my career, things that I want to obtain and achieve in order to look back once I have retired and say 'I managed to do things that nobody else had ever done before'."

Rutherford would join elite company with a medal at the next Olympics.

Legendary javelin thrower Steve Backley is the only British track and field athlete to win a medal at three separate Games, something Rutherford could accomplish if he made it on the dais in Tokyo.

"I am getting older now but I would never write off anything like another Olympics," Rutherford said.

"If I'm in a position by Tokyo to go and win another medal then absolutely, but as I'm finding having surgeries and getting older, it's not as easy as it once was when I was 24-25.

"I've always said it -- I will retire at the top still, I don't want to hold on too long.

"So if I feel as if mentally and physically I can't do it anymore [then] I'll walk away from it, but if I feel like I can [then] absolutely I'll be looking to go to Tokyo and if I'm in the mix I'll be looking to win it still."

When the time comes to walk away, it will spell the end of an era for British athletics.

Rutherford is the last of the golden trio from 'Super Saturday' in London still competing in track and field after Jessica Ennis-Hill retired and Mo Farah shifted his focus to the marathon.

But Rutherford insists British athletics is in good shape once he bids farewell.

"I think we might see a really exciting patch of these youngsters coming through," Rutherford said.

"After Kelly Holmes retired everybody thought there was going to be doom and gloom for GB because there was nobody coming through -- we then won three Olympic gold medals in one night in 2012.

"We've then started to drop off ever so slightly. Jess has now retired, Mo has retired from the track, I'll be looking to retire soon, there'll be a drop-off for a period from the main medal winners but then we'll pick up again and the talent that I see, I think we can have a really dominant Great Britain."

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