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Olympic bronze for the 40-year-old Searle
THE fairytale didn’t quite come true for Marlow’s Greg Searle, but his bronze in the men’s eight on Wednesday could spark a rush of medals for Bucks Olympians in the coming days.
Searle was bidding for a second gold medal 20 years after his first, but had to settle for third after a go-for-broke row from Team GB in the final.
However, while an Olympic bronze medal can never be described as an anti-climax, it could get even better in the next 48 hours.
This morning Katherine Grainger bids for gold in the women’s double sculls.
She and Anna Watkins have won all 22 of their races together and smashed the Olympic record in their heat on Monday.
They will be overwhelming favourites when their race pushes off at 10.30.
Then, 24 hours later, defending Olympic champions Mark Hunter, from Wycombe, and Marlow’s Zac Purchase go in the lightweight double sculls.
After an erratic World Cup Series, they bounced back to form with victory in their opening heat last weekend.
But on Wednesday it was all about 40-year-old Searle, the Cinderalla story of the Games.
He came out of retirement specifically for these Games and the script had been written for his triumphant return.
However, Germany have held the edge over GB for the past few years and so it proved again as they steamed away in the final few hundred yards to take gold.
But Team GB made them work for it.
For the first 1,000m they turned their fast-finish tactics upside down and really took the fight to the Germans, matching them stroke for stroke over Dorney Lake.
With half the race gone they actually edged in front and for a few brief moments Searle appeared to be on the brink of history.
He said: “I had an amazing rush of adrenaline when Phelan [cox Phelan Hill] said we were in the lead, that he was level with the German stroke man. I thought this really could come true.”
However, the effort it had taken to stay with the Germans told in the final stages and Team GB fell off the pace late on, allowing Canada to sneak past them for silver.
Searle said: “I don’t thnk we could have given it any more.
“We said before the race we wanted to be able to look at ourselves in the mirror and say we’d given it everything and I think we did.
“We raced hard from the start and just didn’t have anything left and they came back in the last bit.”
For Searle, it would have been an incredible finish to a career that peaked in Barcelona in 1992, when he and brother Johnny beat the three-time Olympic champions from Italy to win a gold medal.
Searle said: “My dream didn’t come completely true, but it’s been fantastic the whole time, the years leading up to the Olympics.
“And the crowd were just amazing.”
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