PARENTS

​Greg Rutherford Talks About Becoming A Father For The First Time

18/08/2014 10:12 | Updated 20 May 2015

​Greg Rutherford accidentally reveals his baby's gender!

Greg Rutherford, 27, is having the best year of his life: he's won a gold medals at the European Championships and the Commonwealth Games, broken the British long jump record and he has a baby on the way!

We caught up with the Olympic champion for a chat about how he and his girlfriend Susie Verrill, 24, are feeling in the run up to the birth of their first child.

It's been a bumper year for you, what with record breaking, gold medals and babies! You must be grinning from ear to ear?

It's been an incredible year so far. The medals are brilliant, but the news of Susie conceiving is definitely the biggest news of all. It's probably the biggest news of my life to be honest!

We're both exceptionally excited and can't wait for the little one to arrive now. It feels like Susie's been pregnant forever. I still have a couple of months of competing left this season before the baby arrives so it's all going to be pretty non-stop and hectic.

Are you enjoying being a father-to-be? When you won gold at the Commonwealth Games Susie tweeted: "For the first time in never the baby's not kicking my bladder to shit, so... @GregJRutherford needn't worry it'll be impressed by ANYTHING."

It's wonderful to already have a level of interaction. It's quite funny because I always talk to baby through Susie's belly and every time I start speaking I just get kicked in the face. It seems like baby's started as it means to go on.

Still, it is brilliant to already have that interaction, I know it's probably only because my voice annoys baby, but it's still amazing. It's something that I just keep smiling about.

When's the baby due?

October 16, which is about three or four weeks after my season finishes. So it's going to be manic up until that point, but at least we have a few weeks to get ready without me having to train and travel before baby arrives.

How's Susie finding pregnancy?

Good. She hasn't massively enjoyed the heat and she was feeling quite rough with morning sickness for the first three months, but apart from that, she's really enjoying it.

Has she had any cravings?

She's obsessed with smelling new bath sponges. She also wants to eat them, which is quite odd.

When she came up to watch me in Glasgow, she said that every time she saw someone in the crowd with a foam finger she wanted to eat them! So as people were cheering and waving the fingers to her it looked like they were waving around food.

We hear Susie has also made you pretend to be a baby so she could practise putting trousers on someone else. How was that?

[Chuckles] Yeah we've been messing about quite a lot. At the moment we're being very blasé about the impending child, but I imagine when baby's actually here it's going to be very hectic. We've had quite a lot of fun up until this point and hopefully that will continue once baby's here.

I've just looked to my left and I can see two new fresh sponges! So Susie's been getting extra stock in!

When did you find out Susie was pregnant?

It was just three days after we moved into our new house. It was all a bit manic. I think I was shouting at Susie to come help unpack and she was in the toilet just staring at this test. We still hadn't moved half of our things over to the new place, but when she came over to me and said 'I'm pregnant', instantly I was like: 'OK, you can't do anything. You can't lift anything.' But she was like, 'No I'm only a few weeks pregnant, I'm fine to move things.'

Obviously it was just a big shock. He's going to be our first child so it was an amazing - if very hectic - moment to find out.

Was the pregnancy a complete surprise?

It was planned, but it was still a surprise. We discussed it at Christmas and we both said we'd love to have children really soon. Then it all happened pretty quickly. Susie found out she was two to three weeks pregnant on February 10, before we'd really had a chance to take it on board.

Have you chosen a name? We have about three names that we're really thinking about and a couple of others on the outskirts, but we're waiting until we see baby to make our final decision.

Also we're not telling anybody our choice of names, purely because every time we do someone always turns around and says they knew a dog named that, or they knew a person at school they didn't like named that.

It seems like there's always going to be somebody who has a bad association with any name, so we've decided to keep it to ourselves until baby's here.

Are you planning to be at the birth?

Absolutely. Susie's said I'm not allowed to look down but I want to be involved with as much as possible.

I've had to miss a few things, like scans, because of training, which was tough because I really wanted to be involved in absolutely everything.

But when the baby's due I'll be completely on my break from training and will be waiting with car keys in hand ready to rush her to the hospital.

Do you think you'll be a hands-on dad?

Absolutely, I'm going to be involved with everything, including nappy changing. I think that's important for bonding.

Also, there's going to be times when Susie wants to go out and I'll be at home with baby, and if I can't change a nappy I'm going to be in big trouble! Funnily enough I'm actually looking forward to that side of things.

What are you most looking forward to about becoming a father?

I just can't wait to be around baby. I think the first time baby recognises me and smiles is going to be one of the most amazing times of my life to be honest.

I also can't wait to play with baby. I was quite lucky, although my dad worked a lot, whenever he was free he would play sports with me and my brother and I can't wait to do that with my child.

Will you encourage your child to be sporty?

Absolutely. I'll definitely encourage them to try lots of different sports, because I think being fit and healthy is an incredibly important part of life.

Sport also teaches you about how to win and how to lose, and that's an important lesson as it's something you have to deal with in every walk of life.

It will be good fun finding out what sport baby's good at, perhaps it will be something obscure. My parents were fantastic at taking me to training sessions and letting me try lots of different sports, so I want to do the same.

I was also lucky that sport was never made too serious for me. My parents were great at making sure I got out of bed when I needed to play football on a Sunday morning, and that I was ready after school to go to training on a Tuesday and Thursday. But it was never forced upon me or rammed down my throat. If it had been I could have ended up hating sport.

I think the most important thing for children is to make sure sport is like play. It's got to be fun for them, you mustn't turn it into something that's incredibly serious too young, which is why tools like the LeapBand are useful, as they make being active into a game.

Greg Rutherford has been working alongside LeapFrog on the launch of their new LeapBand (£29.99), the first wearable activity tracker for children aged 4-7 years old. The device makes fitness fun and rewarding as children jump, wiggle and move around to earn rewards for a choice of eight virtual pets and nurture their pal through active play.

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