Greg Rutherford questioned Brad Hall’s Olympic bobsleigh bottle after the dramatic high-speed crash that capped more British calamity in Beijing.
Piloting Team GB’s two-man sled, Hall and brakeman Nick Gleeson overturned at 83mph on their third run to cross the finish line upside down, finish 11th and extend Britain’s miserable, medal-less run at these games.
Milton Keynes’ London 2012 long jump champion Rutherford embarked on a bold new bobsleigh career last year but was unable to book his Beijing place in the four-man event alongside Hall’s crew, who enjoyed a red-hot year on the World Cup circuit.
Hall, 31, goes again alongside Gleeson, Greg Cackett and Taylor Lawrence this weekend but Rutherford recons an inability to cope with the heat of the Olympic furnace could be proving his undoing.
The 35-year-old said: “I would imagine with [Brad] knowing that he is a medal hope, there is an awful lot of pressure on him.
“I remember being in a situation in 2008 as a very young athlete, and somebody coming up to me after I’d just qualified for the Olympic final and saying: ‘it’s all on you, we need you to get us a medal so we can start the medals flowing for Great Britain.’
“It was never said to add pressure, but I’ll never forget the amount of pressure I felt. And all of a sudden, I thought I need to be the one to do it and it’s now down to me.
“Now, I don’t know, of course whether or not Brad is feeling that at all.
“Everybody goes to Olympic Games to do the best they possibly can. They have to deal with pressure their own way.
“I was genuinely thinking they had a good chance for a medal if they pulled out some of the runs they’ve had on the World Cup circuit.
“But it just wasn’t to be and it was just gutting for him.”
Hall and Gleeson, 25, bagged a hat-trick of World Cup medals this season and arrived in Beijing ranked fifth in the world off the back of winning silver at the Beijing Test Event in October.
But their Olympic hopes spiraled drastically out of control when they took to the demanding Yanqing track for their third run on Tuesday.
The duo hit the wall coming out of unlucky turn 13, causing their sled to flip on its head and seeing them both cross the finish line upside down.
They recovered to land a solid fourth run but could only pattern an 11th-place finish as German Francesco Friedrich, as dominant an athlete as there are at these Games, roared to a third Olympic title.
The British sled takes to the unique Yanqing track – the only one in the world with a full 360 degree turn – once again this weekend as Hall, Gleeson, Cackett and Lawrence bid to banish those two-man demons and restore British bobsleigh hope.
Hall’s crew have similarly scooped three World Cup medals this season and Rutherford hopes channeling their speed-fueled spirit from Igls and Winterburg can fire them towards the podium in the Chinese capital.
“What I really hope with Brad is that it doesn’t sit in his head too long,” added Rutherford, who is presenting with discovery+Eurosport and the Eurosport App for the Winter Olympic Games.
“He just gets himself recovered, ready, and they go down for that four.
“The four-man team, that’s a very, very strong team. And I think we can be looking at hopefully, hopefully, if all goes well, it could be a medal there if they get it right.
“To have him come down and get us a medal would be a beautiful thing. I really hope that happens.”
Greg Rutherford is presenting with Discovery Eurosport for the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. Watch all the action on discovery+ Eurosport and the Eurosport App.