(Reuters) - Olympic long jump champion Greg Rutherford is risking permanent hearing damage to his left ear by continuing to compete, the British athlete has said, adding that the threat will not deter him from defending his title in Rio.
The 29-year-old pulled out of last month’s British Championships after suffering whiplash at the Birmingham Diamond League meeting, which has since caused a severe ear disorder called cochlear hydrops.
The world champion said that he had a 25 percent chance of not fully recovering his hearing but hoped the condition would not affect his jumping.
“I knew I shouldn’t have jumped in Birmingham because I felt really stiff,” Rutherford told British media.
”If the room falls silent for a moment all I hear is loud white noise, so it’s been a struggle to sleep. I’ve gone from hearing in stereo to mono.
“Hopefully it (normal hearing) will come back but there’s a one in four chance it never will fully recover, according to the doctor.”
Rutherford will defend his European title at Amsterdam this week and the Milton Keynes-born athlete added that he would have considered taking time off to recover in any other year.
“I hope it won’t affect my jumping but it’s certainly not fun,” he added.
“It does bring you down. If it wasn’t Olympic year I would quite possibly be taking some time out to get it sorted, but I like winning medals. I’ll just have to take that risk.”
Rutherford also revealed that he suffered from appendicitis earlier this year.
“I woke up with chronic pain in my stomach and that then progressed. I just had antibiotics and luckily it went away and there’s nothing to suggest it will be a recurring problem.”
“It was two weeks before I jumped 8.30 meters in Long Beach, so it doesn’t seem to have affected me too much.”
Reporting by Nivedita Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by John O'Brien