The Ginger Wizard on London, Rio and beyond

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Olympic long jump gold medalist Greg Rutherford speaks at the Aviva Startrack event in Birmingham.

The self-proclaimed Ginger Wizard is looking forward to Blackpool – he’s never been before.

Greg Rutherford celebrates after winning the Long Jump at London 2012.

Greg Rutherford celebrates after winning the Long Jump at London 2012.

And Rutherford, who became a household name by leaping 8.31m to claim the gold medal in London, reckons turning on the Illuminations is a bigger deal than Olympic glory.

He said: “I’ll be more nervous in Blackpool this week than when I was starting the run up for my jumps!

“I’m not joking when I say it doesn’t get any bigger than switching the lights on.

“I’ve been looking at some of the names they’ve had in recent years – Robbie Williams – and it’s fantastic to think I’ll be joining them.

“My mum and dad are delighted, more excited than me. They’re hoping to come and watch it all.

“Hopefully I’ll get chance to have a look around, check out The Tower and the pleasure beach. I can’t wait.”

Rutherford describes his day job as “jumping into sand”.

Very modest for a bloke who became GB’s first gold medal winner in the long jump since Lynn Davies won in Tokyo in 1964.

By rights, Rutherford shouldn’t have been an athlete. Great grandson of Newcastle legend Jock Rutherford, he had trials with Aston Villa at the age of 14 before deciding to opt for athletics.

Good decision. Rutherford’s gold was one of three won by British track and field athletes on what was dubbed Super Saturday and claimed to be one of the greatest days in British sporting history.

Rutherford, a virtual unknown outside the athletics world before the Olympics, added: “It has been absolutely mad since I won – I’ve been doing interviews galore and now this Blackpool Switch-On has topped the lot.

“But it’s all good ... though I must admit I’m looking forward to going home and getting back to a bit of normality – I haven’t seen my two dogs in ages.”