Beijing 2022: Greg Rutherford named in GB bobsleigh team bidding to reach Winter Olympics next year
“I am extremely confident we can qualify for Beijing and go on to achieve something very special,” says Greg Rutherford, who is bidding to become the first British athlete to medal at both the summer and winter Olympic Games. The London 2012 long jump champion is part of a five-man team hoping to reach Beijing 2022.
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Greg Rutherford has been selected for Great Britain’s bobsleigh squad as the London 2012 long jump champion bids to make history at Beijing 2022.
The 34-year-old, who also won bronze at Rio 2016, is hoping to become the first British athlete to win a medal at both the summer and winter Olympic Games.
To do so, the GB team will have to qualify for next year’s Olympics in Beijing, with Rutherford - who attended a training camp in May having never sat in a bobsleigh before - now preparing for his first event in Igls, Austria in seven weeks’ time.
“There were a few doubters when I said I wanted to make the Winter Olympics in April but I always back and believe in myself and I am absolutely delighted to have been selected,” Rutherford told the Guardian.
I am extremely confident we can qualify for Beijing and go on to achieve something very special.
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Joining Rutherford in the five-man team is double Olympic bobsleigh driver Lamin Deen, as well as 2014 Winter Olympics bronze medallist Joel Fearon, Ben Simons and Toby Olubi.
Rutherford, an Olympic, world, European and Commonwealth long jump champion who retired in 2018, has been sounded out for the four-man bob, although the team will be aiming to qualify for both the two and four-man events in Beijing.
To reach the Olympics, three top-12 finishes are required from the seven qualifying events, which finishes with the European Championships in San Moritz in January.
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“Don’t forget Team GB won a medal in 2014 after the Russians were banned,” said Rutherford. “It wasn’t that long ago but nobody seems to talk about that – they all seem to talk about Cool Runnings.
“But there is a little bit of a Cool Runnings theme for our team too, given we are not funded by UK Sport and we have to figure it all out ourselves. And the great thing about it is there’s a chance of a fairytale ending.
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“From here to Beijing, I’ll be doing exactly what I did as a jumper every single day. I’ll be mentally preparing myself to try and win by going through those same rituals that I did before London and Rio. I’m not here to be a tourist.
“And this team is not just planning to make up the numbers. We all want to give it our absolute best to try and come away with something as well – something very, very special.”