Greg Rutherford insists that a glorious repeat of Super Saturday is “very, very possible” this weekend because he, Jessica Ennis-Hill and Mo Farah are all in fantastic shape as they prepare to defend their Olympic long jump, heptathlon and 10,000m titles respectively.
The trio all won gold within 46 minutes of one another at London 2012 – and the way the track and field programme has worked out they will be going for glory again on Saturday.
And Rutherford believes something special could be on the cards.
“We’ve all worked really hard to get here, I’m in very good shape myself, and I believe the other two are in fantastic shape too,” he said, “So it’s very, very possible. We have all come here to win. It would be another momentous occasion in British athletics history.”
For some Rutherford was the third man in London, who did not get quite the credit he deserved for his victory, but he insisted he did not see it that way. “We don’t get to see each other very often, as Jess is in Sheffield, Mo is in Oregon, and I’m out in Phoenix but we’ve all known each other for very long time, and its a very friendly thing between us.”
“And I have no regrets on anything on how it played out,” he added. “If it wasn’t for the other two – I was sandwiched between two of Britain’s greatest athletes – it wouldn’t have been Super Saturday, and the last four years have been fantastic for all of us. On Saturday we are hoping to replicate that. That would be very special.”
Rutherford has been in imperious form for most of this year and he showed his ability to win when the stakes were highest by taking gold at last month’s European Championships. But he concedes that with a strong American contingent up against him he may have to beat his personal best of 8.51m to take gold.
“I’ve had a fantastic training block coming into this, so there’s no reason why I can’t jump further than I’ve ever have before,” he said. “Every time I step on that runway I want to do something special, and I know what position I am in if conditions play ball. But equally I have been coined as world’s best ever bad conditions jumper, so if that happens I’ll happily welcome that too.”
Rutherford is also buoyed by having his legendary American coach Dan Pfaff, who has receiving chemotherapy for a serious stomach issue, with him in Brazil. He believes it could make all the difference. “Having Dan here adds a completely different dimension to the way I perform,” he said.
“He is incredible at helping me win medals. He was advised not to come here but Dan gave them an up yours, and said: ‘I’m going to go anyway, it’s an Olympic Games.’”
Meanwhile Dina Asher-Smith, Britain’s precociously talented 100m and 200m national record holder, says she cannot wait to compete in her first Olympics, having been a box carrier during Super Saturday four years ago.
“I remember getting the timetable and we were all like: ‘Oh man, we didn’t get Usain Bolt’s 100m final,’” she said. “Instead we got the long jump, the end of the heptathlon and Mo’s final as well, so we thought it had the potential to be a great night but it was absolutely incredible.
“I didn’t think that I would be sitting here four years later. It isn’t a position I would change for anything in the world.”
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