Age is but a number for Olympic gold medallist Searle - Coode
AGE will prove no barrier to London 2012 gold for Greg Searle - according the man he last shared the Olympic waters with 12 years ago.
GOLDEN OLDIE: Greg Searle will be going for his second Olympic gold in London, just two years after coming out of retirement
Searle, who turns 40 in March, finished a disappointing fourth in the coxless pairs at Sydney 2000 alongside Ed Coode and as a result called time on his Olympic career, after gold in 1992 and bronze four years later.
But the Olympic flame never went out for Searle who in 2010 came out of retirement and subsequently won world silver a few months later before repeating the trick last year, both times in the eight.
That is the boat in which Searle looks set to make his fourth Olympic appearance as Great Britain bid to improve on their second place at Beijing 2008 and it is fair to say he's the granddad of the octet.
But Coode believes Searle still has what it takes, claiming only he and Sir Matthew Pinsent would be capable of making such an improbable comeback.
"If anybody is going to come back and win gold then it was going to be Greg," said Coode, who at Athens 2004 scooped coxless fours gold with James Cracknell, Pinsent and Steve Williams.
"Greg and Matthew Pinsent are about the only people who could have that ability to get back into it and what a story it would be if he could do it.
"I obviously know him well from racing with him in Sydney and he has got a few years on me but he had quite a lot of talent on me too.
"When it comes to physical talent too he has got that in the bag. It is obviously a massive challenge what he's doing because there is a reason why most athletes stop when they get into their 30s."
There's no doubting the size of the task that awaits Searle - Redgrave was 38 when he won his fifth and final Olympic gold medal and therefore 34 when he claimed his fourth - before vowing never to return to the water.
But, while Coode believes most 39-year-olds couldn't say no to their Sunday morning lie-ins, he's convinced Searle still has the fire in his belly.
"It would be a staggering achievement to win any medal but Greg has what he needs to do it both in terms of character and in terms of physical ability," he added.
"He has also got the desire which is a much under-used characteristic needed. For lots of people when families come along your clear goals start to get mixed up.
"But Greg has got the desire and the drive to do it. It will be very, very exciting to watch."
Ed Coode was speaking at the Exeter leg of the ‘nearest & dearest' roadshow in partnership with P&G - supporting family and friends of all Team GB and ParalympicsGB athletes in the lead up to London 2012. Visit www.pgproudsponsorofmums.co.uk for more information.
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