Greg Rutherford

They call him The Ginger Wizard. No, not that runt from Harry Potter. We're talking about real-life magic maker Greg Rutherford, who cast his spell on the nation and jumped into sporting history at London 2012.

Greg Rutherford Profile

Quick, what's been the greatest day in British sport? Was it Murray winning Wimbledon? Geoff Hurst lifting the World Cup? David Moyes being axed as Man United manager? All good choices, but athletics fans will probably argue in favour of that "Super Saturday" in 2012 when three members of Team GB bagged track and field golds on the same evening. Flags were flown, tears were shed, national pride swelled. It was like VE Day all over again, only without the rationing and defeated Nazis.

Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis became immediate legends with their 10,000m and heptathlon wins, but the third member of the triumphant trio has stayed rather under the radar.

Greg Rutherford, who put the long in long jump that day, hasn't been on telly anywhere near as much as the other two. It's a situation that will be rectified by 24 Hours To Go Broke, and about time too. The man's not only a sporting great, but he's descended from a sporting great as well.

We speak of Jock Rutherford, his great-grandfather who helped Newcastle United win three First Division titles AND played 11 times for England to boot. In fact, Greg himself came within dribbling distance of a career in football, having trials with Aston Villa as a teen.

Clearly all the perks of Premiership glory – the money, the adulation, the superinjunctions – weren't enough, though, because young Greg was "a bit too lazy when it came to football" and opted for athletics instead. Because running and jumping all day, every day is the lazy man's option, obviously.

Sprinting was actually his first love, but his teenage growth spurts made him realise he was genetically predisposed (i.e. gangly enough) to dominate the long jump. Despite coming a cropper in Beijing 2008, when some bad luck saw him knocked out early in proceedings, he mustered the sort of willpower and discipline you generally only see in sports film training montages, and leapt his way to gold in London 2012. Football's loss is long jump's gain, it's safe to say. Even if Villa fans might not be so pleased about it.

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