British long jumper Greg Rutherford targets Olympic gold

Long jumper Greg Rutherford believes support from a home crowd at the London Olympics will inspire him to leap further than he ever has before.

The 25-year-old from Milton Keynes equalled the British record with a jump of 8.35 metres in San Diego in May.

He is currently ranked world number one in his event and told BBC Look East: "I thrive on pressure.

"I love it the idea that there's expectation. I will go out there and I will aim to be Olympic champion."

Progression of British record

  • 8.23m - Lynn Davies, Berne, 30 June 1968
  • 8.27m - Chris Tomlinson, Tallahassee, 13 April 2002
  • 8.29m - Chris Tomlinson, Bad Langensalza, 7 July 2007
  • 8.30m - Greg Rutherford, Berlin, 20 August 2009
  • 8.35m - Chris Tomlinson, Paris, 8 July 2011
  • 8.35m - Greg Rutherford, San Diego, 3 May 2012

Rutherford competed at the 2008 Games in Beijing, where he finished 10th in the final behind gold medallist Irving Saladino of Panama.

Encouragingly, Saladino's winning distance of 8.34m was a fraction shorter than Rutherford's effort two months ago.

However, Rutherford is not prepared to be complacent and wants to face the strongest possible field in London.

"I will go out there expecting to jump further than I ever have before and with the crowd behind me, I think it's going to be very uplifting and very special.

"I want everybody shouting for me and I'll putting in everything I possibly can to jump as far as I possibly can," he said.

Rutherford is understandably happy with his performances so far this year - and his consistency.

"I've won most competitions that I've been in," he continued.

"I had a couple of blips early on which I put down to things like jet-lag, which is not great management on my part, but going into London it's set up perfectly.

"As I say, I've won quite a lot, I've jumped better, more often - it's all very well having one good jump, but I've had a few now this year, which stands me in good stead," he added.

The Olympic men's long jump final will take place on 4 August.