Current long jump Olympic champion Greg Rutherford, who is still sidelined with a foot injury, is looking to build on his success last summer with improvements to his technique and trophy haul next season.
“I’m pleased at the speed I’m recovering, so hopefully it won’t be long now and I’ll be back to normality and back in the sand. I’m missing it like no tomorrow. When you do it every day I think you take it for granted a lot,” explained Rutherford.
Still riding high on the Olympic euphoria wave, Greg explained that there will be no Olympic hangover and he’s eager to return to training. He said: “I need to put 2012 to bed. I’m relatively still young; I turned 26 on Saturday so I’m hoping to have a decent, maybe two more Olympics in me.
“As much as 2012 has been awesome, I aspire to achieve other things in my career. That’s to make myself one of the best long jumpers in the world and for me to do that I can’t just sit around and say I won the Olympics, because that’s not going to get me anywhere.
“I have such a massive passion and love for the sport, hopefully my career will never end but sadly I know it will one day so I’ve got to make the most of it while I can.
“That initial rush of emotion and pride on that Saturday night was incredible. I can’t even put it into words now; it was an incredibly strong powerful feeling that just hit me.”
After a career plagued with injury, Rutherford doesn’t take representing his country for granted.
“Just competing for your country is something I’m very, very proud of and I love doing it. Every competition I do I do it to win and going forward that won’t change,” he said.
“Hopefully the desire, as I already feel it, is stronger than it’s ever been. I’m not just a one trick pony; it will be more than one medal that people will remember me by,” expressed the Olympic champion.
Greg’s excitement to return for his fourth visit to Gateshead Stadium was clear for all to see at the launch of the European Championships on Tuesday.
“It’s a great way to experience the team side of things, which is the one thing we don’t get in track and field as much as we are Team GB. You’re still not a team as such, but in events like this you don’t want to mess up, you don’t want to be the person who misses out on points,” said the Gold medalist.
Rutherford added: “Every time you get to compete in front of a home crowd you know you’re going to get the biggest cheers, they’re going to get really behind you. If you’re somebody like myself who loves crowds then there’s nothing better and you want to perform for them, you want to do well and you want to make everyone proud.
“Having a home crowd is hugely important and it often brings out the best in British athletes as you’ve seen this year. It’s something that I thrive off.”
For more information on the 2013 European Athletics Championships, visit www.gateshead2013.com