Olympic champion Rutherford set to retire this summer

Olympic champion Rutherford set to retire this summer
By Sportsbeat

13/06/2018 at 09:49Updated

He has spent his career overcoming injuries and setbacks to triumph on the greatest of stages.

And now Olympic long jump champion Greg Rutherford will aim for one final victory this summer before hanging up his spikes for good.

On Tuesday, the 31-year-old revealed in an interview to the Guardian he is to retire at the end of this season, hoping to compete at August's European Championships in Berlin before then bringing an end to a 13-year career that has seen him claim every major elite title on offer.

The decision comes as a result of a continued problem with his left ankle, which was leaving him in pain every single day.

"I'm incredibly proud of my career. I've achieved so much but retirement comes early to those of us for whom sport is a livelihood," wrote the London 2012 champion in a message on Instagram.

"It only feels like yesterday I was winning my first major medal but now 12 years on, I sit here as the greatest long jumper Great Britain has ever had, one of the most successful in European history and someone ready to hang the spikes up for good.

"I want to thank everyone who's had a positive impact on my career (but I'd struggle to name everyone here) - most importantly, the greatest coach I could have ever wished for - Dan Pfaff.

"My full potential would never have been reached and that Olympic gold medal would never have been won, if it wasn't for his guidance and input."

Rutherford etched his name into the British Olympic history books on August 4 2012, winning gold in the Olympic Stadium alongside Jessica Ennis-Hill and Mo Farah as part of that famous Super Saturday of the London 2012 Games.

It was his first major international title but Rutherford went on to prove the title was no fluke, recovering from a career-threatening hamstring injury to win Commonwealth and European gold in 2014 – the same year in which he set a British record 8.51m.

He further cemented his position as one of the world's best by clinching the world and Diamond League titles a year later.

If, in 2012, he had become the first British man since Lynn Davies in 1964 to win Olympic gold, now Rutherford was in a league of his own as the first British athlete to hold all the major outdoor titles at the same time.

And the global medals did not stop there either, adding another European gold and Olympic bronze in 2016.

But while the list of achievements was increasing, so was the injury list for Rutherford who was unable to defend his world title last year after groin and ankle injuries and went under the surgeon's knife again last autumn in the hope of alleviating the problems on his left ankle.

After much rehabilitation, it was ultimately a battle Rutherford had to concede defeat on but the British great hopes to still have the last word, with the intention to leap into the sandpit a final few times this summer.

"I'm going to go for the European Championships one final time. And then I'll also be jumping in Birmingham and London for the Diamond Leagues," he continued in his post.

"If you fancy coming to watch me compete one last time then please do come on down and give me a wave. It'd be so great to finish with some roaring crowds.

"Thank you for all your love and support over the years. It's been a blast and your kind comments have always given me a push in the right direction."

Sportsbeat 2018

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