Greg Searle is one of Britain’s greatest rowers of all time. He started rowing in 1985 and just three years later he rowed in the coxed pair in the Junior World Championships and placed 4th. A year later he went on to win Gold in the coxless four retaining the title in 1990. In the same year he made the Senior Men’s Eight alongside his brother Jonny, where they came fourth. In 1991 at the World Championships Greg and Jonny won bronze.
The Searle’s enlisted Garry Herbert for the Coxed Pairs at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Their Olympic race was regarded as an epic, they faced Italy’s Abbagnale brothers, nine times World Champions and twice Olympic Champions – and with Just 250 metres to go they were a boat and a half behind the Italians and in just 25 strokes they surged past them on the line in one of the most exciting and memorable finishes in an Olympic rowing event.
Jonny and Greg went on to win Gold at the World Championships in 1993 again beating the Abbagnale brothers. In 1994 the Searle’s joined the Coxless Four alongside Tim Foster and Rupert Obholzer. They won bronze in the 1994 World Championships and silver in 1995.
They travelled to the Atlanta Olympics as serious medal contenders – and in an exciting final had to settle for a disappointing bronze.
In 1997 Greg Searle switched to sculling and in the World Championships won a Bronze medal.
In 2000 he had paired with Ed Coode, making a conscious decision not to try for a position in the four with Steve Redgrave when he was going for his fifth medal. Searle and Coode were defeated in their final and had to settle for a crushing fourth.
In 2001 Searle gave up rowing and took up sailing as a grinder. He competed as part of the GBR Challenge for the America’s Cup in New Zealand in 2002/3.
During his 9 year break from the sport, Searle worked as a consultant working with senior management at blue chip companies on goal setting, corporate workshops, facilitating meetings and as an accredited executive coach. But whilst working for FISA at the 2009 Rowing World Championships in Poznan, Poland, he began to feel the urge to be back in a boat and be part of London 2012 – a home Games, the dream of every athlete.
Having discussed his plans with his wife Jenny, and gained her support he then had to convince the British Rowing head coach that he was both serious and able to keep up with the youngsters vying for places on the team. Drawing on his strength, determination and single mindedness that had won him Olympic Gold in 1992 and Bronze in 1996 as well as 5 World Rowing Championship medals, he regained his fitness and squared up to men half his age to win a place in the men’s eight.
At the age of 40, 20 years on from winning Gold in Athens, Greg Searle gained a place in GB Men’s Eight winning a Bronze medal.
His story is one of passion, loyalty, determination and self-belief – and his application to achieving his goals has earned him enormous respect from his peers and those who have followed his career.