Double Olympic gold medallist James Cracknell has backed Greg Searle to complete a remarkable comeback and medal at next month’s Olympic Games.
Searle has returned to Team GB’s rowing squad at 40 years of age, two decades after he won gold in the coxed men’s pair in Barcelona.
He only managed fourth four years later though and has now returned to complete unfinished business having been named in the men’s eight for London 2012.
Cracknell won gold in the men’s four at both the Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 Games and knows Searle well having rowed with him at the U18 Championships – and he believes the veteran can finally end his career the way he wanted to.
“It is good he has come back and, for us elderly bodies, it is great he can do it,” he said.
“Hopefully, he will step up from fourth to the podium and fair play to him after eight years out.
“If Greg is honest, he is an amazing athlete, but he topped very early and then didn’t really push on – he would regret that.
“He won in 1992 and he could have won six gold medals since then if he had himself in the right position.
“These Olympics would be a great end for him.”
Great Britain has excelled at rowing in recent Games, winning at least one gold medal in all of the past seven Olympics and are set to dominate on the water again this year.
And Cracknell, pictured below, believes the history of excellence will stand this summer’s team in good stead.
“They do not need any advice,” he said.
“They are in a sport where there is a history of success and that helps as they know what the minimum level of acceptance is.
“That goes back as far as Steve Redgrave in 1984 – the team has always come back with a gold at every Games since them.”
Cracknell was this week unveiled as one of 12 British Olympians to have their picture on a medallion as part of the special Our Greatest Team Legends Collection – all profits from which will go to supporting Team GB and ParalympicsGB.
“The main reason for doing this was the others included in the medals,” he said.
“If you were to name the 10 best British Olympians, they are all pretty much part of the collection – Tanni Grey-Thompson, Sebastian Coe and Chris Hoy, etc – so to be part of that and help benefit the British team is great.
“There’s going to be lots of things to collect during the Olympics and this is going to be pretty special as you can get a full packet with all the guys having signed it.
“If you get that it is going to be a collectors’ item.”