Greg Rutherford

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"Don't let the big occasion get to you," says the British long jumper.

Raise Your Game: Why should more young people take part in the long jump?

Greg Rutherford: It's a really fun event. With a lot of events people just run around the track and nothing really happens (laughs). In our event you get to run and jump in the sand, which is always good fun.

RYG: How do you stay focussed between rounds?

GR: You learn to deal with it. Don't let the big occasion get to you. That's something that comes with experience. If you've competed as a young kid then you get used to keeping your cool between rounds. We practise it in training as well so there are no problems.

RYG: What sort of training do you have to do for the long jump?

Profile

Name:
Greg Rutherford

Born:
17 November 1986

From:
Milton Keynes

Event:
Long jump

Achievements:

  • Sixth - Long Jump - Aviva British Grand Prix, Gateshead (2009)
  • Fifth - Long Jump - IAAF World Championships, Berlin (2009)
  • 10th - Men's Long Jump, Beijing Olympics 2008
  • Silver - European Championships
  • Winner - UK AAA Championships (2005 and 2006)
  • Youngest ever winner of the senior AAA long jump title. (2005)

GR: I'm a speed-based runner so I have to do a lot of sprinting, to make sure my legs are turning over quickly. I also do a lot of biometric work to make sure my technique is right when I'm taking off the board.

You also need to keep up your general fitness and keep every part of your body healthy, because you put a lot of pressure on your body every time you jump. You put stress on your neck, your back and everything else. You need to make sure your whole body is fit and strong.

RYG: What does it take to become a top long jumper?

GR: In long jump you have to be quick. Speed is a major part of it. A lot of people have a lot of spring but they can't convert that into distance because they haven't got the speed to take them forward. If you're naturally quick, long jump could be the event for you. The 100m is what a lot of kids want to do, but long jump's definitely something to try. You get to run for 40 metres and jump into the pit.

RYG: Long jump is all about angles and trajectories - how do you make sure that you take off at the right angle to make your jump as long as possible?

GR: It's all about experience. When you've got a decent coach, like I have in Frank Attoh, he looks at what's happening. He then tells me if I need to get taller or drive for longer in the run to get my speed up a bit more. When you hit the board, stay tall, and as long as you've got the speed on the runway, it should take you to the big distances.

RYG: What will it take to win Olympic gold?

GR: Something big. I'd say you'd need to be jumping about eight metres sixty, but there's no reason why I can't do that. If you're a world-class athlete, on your day, you can do anything.


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