Greg Rutherford called time on athletics saying he was in too much pain to even sit on the floor and play with his kids.

The only prospect less likely than him making another Olympics was competing in a Winter Games.

That was three years ago and as recently as February there was no suggestion of a second coming for Britain’s long jump legend.

Yet 100 days out from Beijing here he is, named in Great Britain’s bobsleigh squad for the XXIV Winter Olympics.

His first event is not until next month but those dismissing this as an attention-seeking exercise, five years on from his appearance on Strictly, should listen to double Olympic bobsleigh driver Lamin Deen.

Rutherford celebrates Olympic gold at London 2012 (

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Getty Images)

“A lot of people did think it was a publicity stunt,” said Deen, who piloted Britain to its only ever four-man World Cup gold medal in 2017. “It isn’t. Greg has earned his right.”

Rewind to February and Deen is having a coffee in Altenberg with two-time Olympic champion Kaillie Humphries.

The Canadian tells him she has been speaking to Rutherford about getting involved and suggests with his power and speed he would be good for the British team.

Lamin Deen piloted Britain to its only ever four-man World Cup gold medal in 2017 (

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Getty)

“I forgot all about it, my phone rang one day and it was Greg,” said Deen. “We spoke for a good hour and a half.

“At first I was doubtful that in the timeframe he had he could make it as it's not just about pushing and going in a straight line.

“I sent Greg down to work with the coaches and, within a week, he'd learned how to perform in a two-man sled.

Deen: 'When I saw the footage of Greg I was gob-smacked' (

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“When I saw the footage I was gob-smacked. Usually it takes four or five sessions; first session he got it and just kept getting better.

“We took him down to Bath to see how he'd get on on the side-handles on the four-man, and within one session he was blasting it off and jumping on the side.

“I thought ‘wow, I've never seen anything like it’.”

Rutherford teamed up with Mo Farah and Jess Ennis-Hill to light up Super Saturday at London 2012 (

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PA)

Deen, 40, has seen most things in a sport where sleds reach speeds of 90mph and success for nations without tracks are so rare they are immortalised by Hollywood.

The British team, which still has to qualify, has no centralised funding, despite winning bronze in the four-man in Sochi seven years ago.

“You learn to get by on what you've got,” said Deen, a Grenadier Guardsman who served two tours in Northern Ireland during the Troubles and another in Bosnia.

Katie Ormerod: High flying again after splitting heal in two and missing last Olympics (

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“All that matters is when you're on the ice and you're pushing fast.”

Into this no-excuse environment has stepped Rutherford, convinced GB will make it to Beijing, the city where he became long jump world champion in 2015.

“I’m not here to be a tourist,” said the Super Saturday star of London 2012. “And this team is not just planning to make up the numbers.”

FIVE OTHER BRITS TO WATCH

Katie Ormerod (snowboard)

Forced to miss last Olympics after splitting her heal in two. Bounced back to become first British snowboarder to win a World Cup title.

Charlotte Bankes winning snowboard cross world championships in Sweden this year (

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TT NEWS AGENCY/AFP via Getty Images)
Dave Ryding competes in slalom World Cup in Switzerland in March (

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Getty Images)

Charlotte Bankes (snowboard cross)

Competed for France in last two Games before switching to land of her birth and this year becoming Britain's first snowboarding cross world champion.

Dave Ryding (men’s slalom)

Achieved Britain’s best result in an alpine skiing event for 30 years when ninth in men’s slalom at 2018 Games in Pyeongchang.

Laura Deas in action at this year's skeleton world championships (

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Getty Images)
Bruce Mouat and Jen Dodds are mixed doubles curling world champions (

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PA)

Laura Deas (skeleton)

Bronze medallist behind golden girl Lizzy Yarnold four years ago, Welsh star Deas heads British challenge this time.

Bruce Mouat (curling)

Targeting two medals having won world mixed doubles title with Jen Dodds in May and anchored Scotland to silver medal in men’s competition.