OLYMPICS From the length of Olympic gold … to the sleigh in Beijing 2022

“Most believe it’s impossible to go from never playing a sport to winning an Olympic medal in less than a year. But I don’t agree 100%. I’m not doing this just to finish 25th or be a tourist. I intend to train really hard, qualify, make a team and then win a medal. And if we get the sled just right and run flawlessly, anything is possible. Even gold,” says Greg Rutherford in ‘The Guardian’.

The British long jumper, who celebrates 35 years on November 17, fulfills a dream that most humans don’t think of. Olympic champion in London 2012, bronze at Rio 2016, 2015 world champion, 2014 and 2016 European champion, 2014 Commonwealth champion, Great Britain record with 8.51 … However, Rutherford, who recently entered the UK Athletics Hall of Fame, left the pits in 2018 with an ankle problem and took his first steps on the race track to began secretly training with the British bobsleigh team to take on his next challenge: reaching the Winter Olympics in Beijing 2022.

Milton Keynes has shortlisted alongside Lamin Deen, Ben Simons, Joel Fearon and Toby Olub (out of five, four will occupy a place in the event in the Chinese capital) to seek the England team classification, something he has accomplished at the last Olympic event, and for what requires three results in the top twelve of the seven qualifying events, ends with the European Championships in Sankt Moritz in January.

To go to Beijing, something that can stop the shoulder problem he’s been working so hard on with doctors and physiotherapists, Rutherford will have the opportunity to matched that of America’s Eddie Eagan, gold at the 1920 Antwerp Olympics in boxing and gold in sledding at the 1932 Lake Placid Games; the only athlete in history to become an Olympic champion in two different disciplines at the Summer and Winter Olympics. Greg will follow in the footsteps of Lolo Jones, the world champion in indoor 60m hurdles, who switched to bobsleigh in 2012 and was declared world champion in this modality in 2021.

“I didn’t do anything and my body responded really well,” explains Rutherford, who has added 14 kilograms to about 100, a boon for the new specialty. “That’s what British bobsleighs don’t have: heavy people who can also move fast. The plan was to see if I could reach 106 kilograms, so I ate more than before. I train like a bodybuilder and I believe in myself. “, Explain.

Steve Smith, one of England’s coaches, also believes: “He has every chance of succeeding if he stays fit but I was honest with him. He wasn’t sure he would come in. Bobsleigh isn’t just about running on ice. You also have to deal with the sled, you have to know how to hit and load on the sled. It’s going to be a steep learning curve.”


-Eddie Eagan rose to the top of the boxing podium in Antwerp 1920 and then the fourth Bosbleigh in Lake Placid in 1932.

-Jacob Tullin Thams won gold in the ski jump at Chamonix 1924 and silver in sailing in Berlin 1936.

– Christa Luding-Rothenburger won two golds in speed skating, in Sarajevo 1984 and Calgary 1988, silver, in Calgary 1988 and bronze, in Albertville 1992. Then she was silver on track cycling in Seoul 1988.

-Clara Hughes won four medals at the Winter Olympics in speed skating: one gold (Turin 2006), one silver (Turin 2006), and two bronzes (Salt Lake City 2002 and Vancouver 2010). At the Summer Olympics he earned two bronze medals in track cycling, both in 1996 Atlanta.

-Lauryn Williams took silver in the 100m in Athens 2004 and took gold in the 4×100 in London 2012. Then she took silver at bobsleigh in Sochi 2014.


-Gillis Grafström is the only one to have won the same test in the summer and winter editions. It was gold at the 1920 Antwerp Olympics when skating was part of a summer Olympic event. At Chamonix 1924, the first Winter Games, gold was hung again, which was later repeated at the 1928 Saint Moritz. At Lake Placid 1932 it was silver.

Matt Thompson

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