Notable Alumni - Greg Searle

Greg Searle
Estate Management, 1994

Robert Humphreys

Rower Greg Searle is one of the country’s leading sportsmen. Having won Olympic gold at Barcelona in 1992, he returned to the sport to row again at the London 2012 Games aged nearly 40. He now works as a performance development consultant, helping others unleash their potential and achieve their goals. 

Greg Searle’s life has always revolved around sport. A keen rugby player at school, he took up rowing at the age of 13, inspired by Martin Cross’s gold medal performance at the 1984 Olympics in LA. By 1988, he was competing at both the junior and adult World Championships, winning two gold medals in the former and rowing alongside brother Jonny in the men’s eight at the latter. 

The partnership with Jonny was to prove highly successful, culminating in the breathtaking Olympic coxed pairs final in Barcelona in 1992, when the Searles snatched the gold medal on the finishing line. At the time, Greg was still studying for his degree in Estate Management at LSBU, which included a year out in industry working as a chartered surveyor. So modest was he about his talents that one tutor didn’t even realise Greg rowed until he saw the story on the news. 

In 1993, the brothers added a World Championship gold to their tally. Both were subsequently awarded MBEs. Greg went on to compete at the Olympic Games in Atlanta, where he won bronze, and then at Sydney in 2000. Although he then took a step back from rowing, it was not long before his physical prowess and team working skills brought him to the attention of the British America’s Cup team, and he sailed in the 2002 AC Challenger Series. 

Since then, he has focused on building his career as a partner in performance development consultancy Lane 4, working alongside another Olympic champion, swimmer Adrian Moorhouse. Given the demands of his busy professional life and a young family, it seemed that his days of competing at the highest level were behind him. 

But then, at the age of 37, he made a bold decision: to return to competitive rowing and seek a place at the London 2012 Olympic Games. ‘I wanted to be part of the Games,’ he said at the time. ‘It seemed to me that opportunities to be part of something as special as this were pretty rare.’ 

Greg threw himself into a tough training regime, spending hours on the water and in the gym, pushing himself to the limit alongside athletes more than a decade his junior. It meant plenty of pain and sacrifice, but it was also an opportunity to practise what he had been preaching in his capacity as performance consultant.
 
‘At Lane 4 we spend our time helping individuals and companies achieve their goals and realise their potential,’ he has said. ‘We put a three-year plan in place that sets out how they’re going to get there, step by step. The key thing is to start straight away. So as soon as I realised I wanted to make the Olympic team, I went out to train the very next day.’ Rowing in the men’s eight at Dorney Lake, Greg added a bronze to his tally of medals – an impressive achievement after some 12 years away from the sport. 

Greg believes that passion and commitment are the key to fulfillment and success, whether in sport or professional life. ‘Find something you’re passionate about and engage others to be passionate too,’ he says. ‘Do it because you care, and it makes you proud, not because you have to. The will to succeed has to come from within. Identify your goal, and focus on that. Work hard, take risks and you will be rewarded’.

© London South Bank University 2018