The champion long-jumper heads from the sandpit to the samba
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He’s a decorated Olympian whose natural habitat is slap-bang in the middle of a competition. Greg Rutherford is more than ready for Strictly!
Born in Milton Keynes in 1986, Greg was one of three kids. Sport was always very much in his blood – his great-grandfather played for England, and Greg himself had trials for Aston Villa. But the lure of the long jump had a greater pull than that of football, and he became the youngest ever winner of the AAA Championships at just 18.
We just did a fitting for the outfits and I don’t mind doing any of that at all – I have to usually jump in a very tight vest and shorts so I’m fine with that stuffGreg Rutherford
It was London 2012 that saw him truly leap into the limelight, with his gold medal-winning jump making up a crucial part of the now-infamous Super Saturday. Four years on, he did Team GB proud yet again, taking the bronze in Rio.
Thankfully, he goes get some downtime, but Strictly is eating into that: "At this time of year I normally completely switch off for six weeks," Greg explains. "I stay at home a lot sitting around in my pants eating cakes because I don’t really get to do that the rest of the year and this is going to be one of the first years in a long time that I’m training through."
Clearly, Greg loves a challenge, further proven by the fact he's competed in the Great Sport Relief Bake Off and the Channel 4 immersive history series Time Crashers, as well as celebrity editions of The Cube and Million Pound Drop.
Strictly, however, is a very different beast indeed. His long jump experience means Greg’s got precise footwork, determination, and a high level of fitness, but as for rhythm, pizzazz and salsa-friendly hips? We’ll have to wait and see…
With Olympic gold and bronze, European Championships gold and silver, World Championships gold, Commonwealth gold, an MBE and even a 26ft tall statue erected in his honour, Greg’s already got quite the collection of metallic awards. How d’you reckon the Glitterball Trophy would look alongside that little lot?