Today’s men’s eight final could be the most exciting race of the whole Games. If it had been a day later it would have been 20 years exactly since the Searle brothers, with me on board as cox, won gold in the coxed pairs at Barcelona. Greg Searle came out of retirement two years ago and goes today in the men’s eight. He is 40, bless him, but as fit and good now as he was 20 years ago.
He’s not bad-looking, either — look at a photo of him then (main picture) compared with now (top left) and there’s little difference 20 years on, and his rowing’s probably better. I hate him!
The Germans are favourites – they’ve won everything this year. But the nature of the men’s eight is that boats win by a couple of feet. If it’s that close with 200m to go, you’d wager that the British could row them down. But they did lose to the Poles and the Australians at the Munich World Cup meet, when the Germans weren’t even there! It was a complete shock.
The first half of the race is so important. Once you’re down, you can fold up. GB’s talisman, Constantine Louloudis, has had a bad back but is fit — that’s a huge psychological boost. He’s the new Matthew Pinsent.
Men’s Eight Final 12:30am BBC1, BBC Olympics 2