World of Sport

Rutherford boasts of sprinting ability, talks of new event

London 2012 Olympic gold medallist Greg Rutherford has come up with a new gameplan to rediscover his athletics mojo: he is to turn himself into a 'world-class sprinter'.

In a typically bashful, understated interview, the Olympic long jump champion said he believes he could become one of the fastest ever British sprinters.

He may have struggled to regain form since his gold in London last year, but his confidence has shown no signs of fading as he talked of his sprinting ability.

"I think I could be one of the fastest sprinters in British history if I trained exclusively for the 100m," Rutherford told BBC Sport.

"I think I can run quicker than a few that are around now and possibly cause an upset here and there."

Rutherford, whose personal best over 100m, set at Gateshead in 2010, is 10.26 seconds, hoped to race earlier this year in the United States but has not given up on the idea.

Linford Christie, the 1992 100m Olympic champion, is Britain's fastest ever sprinter with a time of 9.87 seconds, and Rutherford believes he could be one of the best.

"I like to think I could do well," Rutherford said. "I'm very keen to run because I genuinely think I can cause an upset in the 100m.

"I'm looking to race relatively soon. I said that post-Games I was going to run and the problem has been that I haven't had the right set-up.

"I went to run a few weeks ago in America but I'd jumped a couple of days before and I was still sore so I wouldn't have done myself justice so I pulled out.

"As a junior I featured regularly in 100m finals and even made the senior AAAs final in 2005 as a junior and a long jumper."

[Rutherford: I thought I was 'quids in' after Olympics]

He has dismissed any suggestions that he may not be as motivated as he was for his home Olympics last year, but some have questioned his focus and commitment since the triumph.

Rutherford jumped in the colours of the Milton Keynes Athletics Club as an indication of his frustration at a lack of sponsorship in the wake of London 2012.

He has brought out his own kit line, called 'GRavity', after failing to agree a new deal with sports giants Nike and has been supplementing his income with various appearances on television.

"I thought I was quids in," Rutherford told the Daily Telegraph. "I was sitting there thinking, 'This is going to be brilliant. My Nike contract is up for renewal at the end of the year and I’m going to have all the other endorsements coming in'.

"After winning the gold I was thinking: 'This will make everything easy. I won’t have to worry about finances and I can just concentrate on becoming the best athlete I can be’."

Clearly disgruntled and frustrated at times, Rutherford has continued to cause controversy with some of his statements in interviews and on TV appearances.

Rutherford has admitted that people on Twitter have attacked him for spending so much time on television but he says that he is not doing it out of choice.

"I'm not poor. I’d be lying if I said I was," he told the Telegraph. "But if people believe that the reason I go on TV is because I love the sound of my own voice, that is completely and utterly wrong.

"Range Rover gave me a lease car that I can drive for free, which is amazing, and Omega gave me a watch.

"That's all fantastic, and there have been some free clothes here and there, but ultimately it doesn't put food on the table, so you are in a scenario where you are forced to do promotions and appearances."

Some will say that Rutherford's talk of being one of Britain's best ever sprinters is foolhardy and disrespectful, but it is clear that the reigning Olympic long jump champion is not content with the direction his career is headed.

He will now hope that a fairly significant change in his training and racing helps to trigger some big talk for what really matters: his performances in competition.