Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Searle Returns Expecting to Be Britain's Golden Oldie; Oldest Member of Team GB Says He Can Add a Second Gold to the One He Brought Back from Barcelona in 1992 by Matt Majendie

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Searle Returns Expecting to Be Britain's Golden Oldie; Oldest Member of Team GB Says He Can Add a Second Gold to the One He Brought Back from Barcelona in 1992 by Matt Majendie

Article excerpt

Byline: Matt Majendie

JURGEN GROBLER calls him "senior" and the rest of the crew in the men's eight tease him for being the "housewives' favourite", but his birth certificate states quite simply Gregory Mark Pascoe Searle.

At 40, he is the oldest member of the GB Rowing squad announced for the Olympics today, nearly an entire Olympiad older than the second most senior, Katherine Grainger.

Searle's Olympic journey is a remarkable one. When he won gold in 1992, he had competed in just eight races in the men's coxed pairs, in which the Italian Abbagnale brothers were very much the Sir Steve Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent of the event.

In addition, Constantine Louloudis, with whom Searle will row in the men's eight in London providing the stroke overcomes injury, was just 10 months old at the time of that race.

Searle is relishing every moment of his second coming in international rowing. "I love it even on the miserable days," he explains. "I know all the hard days are important so I just tough them out and think it's all quite special."

He likens himself to a mature student and insists that despite his relatively advanced years in such a demanding sport, he is enjoying it so much more second time around.

"I'm actually finding it easier as well," he says. "Before, when I was in my 20s all my mates were going out and having big nights so rowing felt quite boring in comparison. I felt I was missing out on stuff. Now most of my mates have children and try to go to bed early."

Searle himself is a parent and his return to rowing, for which the 2009 World Rowing Championships were to blame, has meant he has less time to spend with Josie, 11, and Adam, eight.

"I'm obviously missing out on being with the kids but a regular training day is finished by four o'clock so I can pick them up from school and spend time with them," he says. "Obviously that's not the case at training camps."

Had his flight back from the 2009 World Championships in Poland, where he had been commentating, not be delayed by a day, he might never have taken up his place in the men's eight. "I was just juggling so many balls and was just about doing what I wanted to do but I never took time to stop and think," he says. …

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