• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Hampden history is on the side of 'ginger guy' Rutherford

Five score and six years after his great-grandfather bestrode the pitch at Hampden, Greg Rutherford concedes a familial return is long overdue.

Greg Rutherford is back to his best
Greg Rutherford is back to his best

It was his great-grandfather Jock, once of Newcastle United and Arsenal, who acquainted the clan with Mount Florida, claiming one of his 11 caps for England in a 1-1 draw with Scotland in front of a then-unsurpassed crowd of 121,000.

His progeny's turn will come this weekend, with the Olympic long jump champion Glasgow-bound for the Sainsbury's Grand Prix. "Hopefully that's a good omen as the last Rutherford to compete at Hampden helped set a world record," he declares. "It's a fantastic bit of family history."

Milton Keynes' languid leaper has forged a legend of his own, of course, his performance on Super Saturday of London 2012 forming one part of the trinity of track and field golds which provided the most indelible memory of two summers ago.

A modest man, Rutherford knows well that his celebrity pales when compared to Mo Farah and Jess Ennis, both who have reaped millions in the wake of those Games while he has endured the loss of his major sponsor and a return to near-anonymity. If only his victory had come 24 hours before or after, he would momentarily claimed the spotlight for himself. It would have quickly dimmed, he suggests.

"If I hadn't been involved with Super Saturday, it probably would have been a forgotten medal," he asserts. "If anything, I was lucky to be sandwiched in between two of Britain's poster athletes in Jess and Mo. As much as I'm often remembered as the other one or the ginger guy, that's still a great thing."

It remains his summit, although the forthcoming Commonwealth Games, he hopes, will provide a similar high. Since London the lows have been too frequent for his liking, with hamstrings more fragile than cheap glass proving to be a constant source of self-torture.

It was 12 months and two days ago that Rutherford hobbled away from the Stade de France and wondered if he had completed his final jump. "I got in the car afterwards to go back to the hotel and I was in a lot of pain," he recounts. "I knew it was a problem, I sat back and thought: 'this is probably it, this is probably my career over.' And sadly for me, I thought I'd be ending on a massive low."

He took two months off but returned for the world championships in Moscow. Failing even to reach the final, it was a needless gamble. "I'd been submerged in so much stress because I'd won a major title and I wanted to win more. But I put too much stress on myself."

Glasgow's Diamond League meeting, where his opposition includes British rival Chris Tomlinson, will provide one vital test before Glasgow where the support, he trusts, will resemble Stratford. As a pale ginger, he will assert his claim on the Caledonian DNA. "Maybe I'll keep a blue top on until the very last minute so everybody gets behind me and whip it off to show my England shirt," he laughs. "I'll see how the crowd goes then."

Contextual targeting label: 
Sport

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

245849