Andy Rutherford: My son deserved better

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GREG Rutherford’s father has spoken out about his disappointment after it became clear this week that Milton Keynes Council would not be properly celebrating the long jump champion’s Olympic success.

Andy Rutherford has written a letter to the Citizen, expressing his frustration that the council has seemingly failed to recognise his son’s outstanding achievement in a manner befitting an Olympic gold medallist.

Despite much talk of a grand occasion to celebrate Greg’s gold medal triumph at London 2012, the only celebration to take place in Milton Keynes will be held at stadium:mk when MK Dons take on Crewe in a League 1 game on Saturday, September 29. That is described as a reception and half time lap of honour – eight weeks after he won Olympic gold.

The event has been billed as a celebration of the summer in general, including torchbearers, Games Makers, and the city’s seven other Olympians and Paralympics.

However, the Citizen this week learned that almost all of those athletes have not even been contacted about taking part, and if they have, they can’t actually make the date in question.

Greg’s appearance at stadium:mk is also still in doubt. And regardless of whether the 25-year-old makes it or not, his dad is still extremely disappointed with the council for failing to make the most of Greg’s outstanding achievement on arguably the greatest ever night for British sport.

He told the Citizen: “The council has really missed a great opportunity to do something fantastic. It’s such a shame.

“They don’t seem to realise the importance of it. It’s the first time someone from England has ever won the Olympic long jump title.

“Lynn Davies did it for Wales and the reception he got back then in 1964 was incredible – they couldn’t get the bus down the street.

“We should have had a fantastic occasion that everyone could have gone to. Local kids can look up to Greg and see that’s he’s just a normal bloke who has dedicated his life to something and been rewarded.

“Now if you want to be part of it you have got to buy a ticket to the Dons game.

“But now the moment has gone. The football has started and young people are distracted again. If they had got Greg out in the city there might have been thousands of people there to see him, and they would have been inspired.”