VIDEO: Citizen sports editor Simon Downes speaks to Greg Rutherford

UNFORTUNATELY we weren’t allowed to make Greg Rutherford’s appearance at Stantonbury Stadium on Saturday public knowledge beforehand, but that probably made the occasion a bit more special for those who did turn out.

Sporting celebrities Daley Thompson and Sharron Davies were joined by TV broadcaster John Inverdale on the Join In campaign ‘battle bus’ that rolled into town on a blisteringly hot afternoon, but it was Rutherford who most wanted to get a sight, or touch of.

Around 200 people gathered at the track for what was billed as Milton Keynes Athletic Club’s ‘search to find the next Greg Rutherford’ but it would have been so many more had the national organisers of the campaign allowed the Citizen to reveal that the man himself would be there.

Nevertheless, after a few dozen keen youngsters got their chance to try long jump for the first time, the bright purple bus arrived at the Stantonbury track and Rutherford received a tremendous reception from those who would hardly give the 25-year-old room to move for the next 45 minutes.

He didn’t mind though. Rutherford has quickly become accustomed to being the centre of attention. He chatted, took pictures with, and shook hands with everyone who wanted to. And of course, he didn’t mind showing off his Olympic gold medal either.

Rutherford will be presented to the Milton Keynes public in a more formal Milton Keynes Council-organised event to celebrate his London 2012 success in late September. The details of that day are still yet to be finalised.