Golden Greg Rutherford to wave goodbye
Milton Keynes' Olympic hero Greg Rutherford will hang up his spikes at the end of the season after announcing his retirement.
The long jumper, who leapt to worldwide fame in 2012 as he claimed gold at the Olympic Games in London, has been plagued with injuries throughout his career and said it was time to call it quits.
“At times I am in so much pain I can’t even sit on the floor and play with my two kids,” Rutherford told the Guardian. "Whenever I try to sprint or jump I have to take three days off because I am limping so much. In the end it wears you down.”
On Instagram, he added: "I've achieved so much but retirement comes early to those of us for whom sport is a livelihood.
"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.
"It'd be so great to finish with some roaring crowds."
Rutherford, who grew up in Bletchley and later lived in Woburn Sands, joined an illustrious trio on Saturday August 4, 2012. In a remarkable 49 minutes of action, Great Britain claimed three gold medals from athletes who have gone on to become national icons - Rutherford, Jessica Ennis and Mo Farah. While nay-sayers claimed his win was a fluke, Rutherford went on to stamp his authority on the long jump world.
Closer to home, Rutherford was paraded around his home town of Woburn Sands on an open-top bus to celebrate his gold medal success in London, while a giant statue of his leap welcomes visitors to Milton Keynes at junction 13 of the M1.
After overcoming a career-threatening hamstring injury, Rutherford claimed the World Championship, European Championship and went on to take Commonwealth gold too, making him only the fifth athlete to hold the crowns, alongside Daley Thompson, Linford Christie, Sally Gunnall and Jonathan Edwards. He also set a new British long-jump record of 8.51m.
Rutherford was devastated to miss out on defending his Olympic title in Brazil in 2016, taking the bronze medal in Rio, but injuries have limited his competition ever since.
He will hang up his spikes after this year's European Championships, and he is aiming to go out on a high.