Greg looking to make jump from athletics to TV career

Greg Rutherford                       pic: Sammy Jones
Greg Rutherford pic: Sammy Jones

Outside Waterstone’s at intu the crowd is building nicely. And they come with jackets to sign, pictures to show and memories to share.

In store, a relaxed and affable Greg Rutherford is telling me how it feels when he drives past that 26ft tall statue of himself on the Fen Street roundabout.

That must be a little bit bonkers...”It’s the weirdest thing in the world,” he says with a laugh.

“It is so strange. When I first head about it, I thought it would be quite small and unassuming, and then when I saw it, it really did blow my mind.”

But it’s fitting for our Olympic champion, turned smooth dance floor mover.

His time in Strictly Come Dancing came to an end a couple of weeks back. But, as devastated as he was to bow out, he knew the end was nigh.

“There’s a level of disappointment when anything like that finishes, because you want to do well and the competitive side of me wanted to go all the way. But I was a realist as well, and I knew I was definitely nowhere near as good as some of the dancers in there,” he admits.

“The others were better than me, and where I come from, if you are better than someone, you win.

“...I could see I was coming to the end of my shelf life.”

But now the glitterball is out of sight, Greg can get back to his other work – there is a new online fitness programme on its way (“It’s taking the things I’ve learned over the last 12 years as a professional athlete and condensing them into a formula where everyone can have access to that sort of knowledge”) and he is hopeful of making the transition into television work in the future.

But there are more pressing things.
“To be honest, I’m earmarking the next two years to compete. I’ve probably got a couple more years, and possibly one more Olympics if all goes very, very well.”

“We’ve made a sporting autobiography which is incredibly honest,” he says, giving a nod to the autobiography sat on the table next to us. It was written with Guardian sports editor Sean Ingle.

“I’ve not missed the harder hitting parts of my life because that’s important. I wanted to get across that some of the things I did were quite silly and naughty at times, but that you can make mistakes and still go on to succeed. I’m just a kid from Bletchley and there was nothing particularly special about me.”

But outside the store, the line to meet him is growing speedily. People are eager to share a moment with MK’s biggest star and grab a signed copy of his autobiography, Unexpected. To them, ‘our Greg’ is very special.