Greg Rutherford: Tokyo Games will be monumental party, better than London 2012

By Jamie Gardner, PA Chief Sports Reporter
PA Media: Sport

Greg Rutherford believes the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics could surpass London 2012 as the greatest Games in modern history.

The 33-year-old, who won Olympic long jump gold on Super Saturday at the London Games almost eight years ago, thinks the world will be ready for a party like no other should Tokyo be able to put the Games on next year.

A decision was reached on Tuesday to delay the Olympic and Paralympic Games due to the acceleration of the coronavirus pandemic across the planet and Rutherford subscribes to the view that when those events finally happen, they will serve as a huge celebration.

“London is still the greatest modern Olympics – and when the Australians (who hosted Sydney 2000) say that you realise it was a very monumental Olympic Games, but Japan could potentially top it,” he told the PA news agency.

“It is going to be one monumental party because everyone is going to enjoy and fully appreciate every moment of those Games.”

Tokyo 2020 organisers admitted on Thursday the prospect of rescheduling the Games was a daunting task that would likely come with a massive price tag.

John Coates, the chair of the International Olympic Committee’s co-ordination committee, was quoted in the Japanese media saying that work is ongoing with international sports federations to find dates in July and August next year, between the Wimbledon and US Open tennis championships.

IOC president Thomas Bach did not rule out a spring Games when he addressed the media on Wednesday, and while some athletes immediately dismissed that idea, Rutherford, who retired in 2018, said it would be possible with enough notice.

Rutherford, who is partnering with Sport England to encourage the nation to #StayInWorkOut for the benefit of their mental and physical health while in lockdown, said: “If there’s enough time for athletes to prepare, then you adapt. That’s something you have to do.

“We’re in a very difficult position for the world, not just for sport, so you have to be prepared to adapt if need be.

“The athletes need to be given as much time as is humanly possible so they can prepare their heads, their training, and actually the organisation around it.

Rutherford pictured with Mo Farah, left, on Super Saturday (Martin Rickett/PA)
Rutherford pictured with Mo Farah, left, on Super Saturday (Martin Rickett/PA)

“Before any major championships you would want to do multiple competitions beforehand in order to get yourself ready. What needs to happen is that all the other events change their timings to compete in the build-up towards.

“There are a hell of a lot of logistics that would go into doing it but if that’s what has to happen, at the end of the day I think athletes will just be thrilled that an Olympic Games can still be hosted.

“You need to give athletes time to mentally prepare for the biggest show in the world.”

Greg Rutherford is partnering with Sport England to encourage the nation to #StayInWorkOut for the benefit of their mental and physical health. To find out more details and Join The Movement please visit stayinworkout.org

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