March 14 - Australia's greatest-ever rower, James Tomkins (pictured), is ready to make a comeback for the London 2012 Olympics when he will be nearly 47, he has revealed.

The 44-year-old, who is Australia's most successful Olympic rower, says he must decide by the middle of this year whether he launches a campaign for the London Games.

While Tomkins has tried to play down the prospects of becoming the first Australian to compete at a record seven Olympics, he admits it is something he is seriously considering.

He said: "You only have a limited shelf life and if you have the chance to do it, then it's quite compelling.

"A lot of the guys are saying, '"hat are you doing it for?' ... and others are saying, 'Yeah, bloody oath, get out there and have a crack'.

"it's a very personal thing.

"It's all about striving and seeing how far you can actually take it.

"It's about a five per cent chance, at the most, but it would be a fantastic challenge to take up though.''

Tomkins first competed at the 1988 Seoul Games and became famous as a member of the "Oarsome Foursome" crew that won gold medals at the 1992 and 1996 Games.

He has won three gold and one bronze and was a member of the eight crew in Beijing, where he was the flag bearer for the Australian team at the Opening Ceremony.

Tomkins is among four men from Australia to compete at six Games.

The others are sailor Colin Beashel, equestrian competitor Andrew Hoy and speed skater Colin Coates.

Tomkins claimed that he has the support of his wife Bridget to pursue his ambition.

His former rowing team-mate Drew Ginn (pictured left with Tomkins) is also pushing for the London Olympics, but now in road cycling.

Tomkins said: "Bridget gave me a bit of a rev-up the other night, actually, we were talking to Drew and she said, 'Well, if you think you can, you've been banging on about making the most of opportunities all your life and you reckon it's an opportunity, you've got to do it'.

"The problem is, physically I reckon I can do it, but it's all the other stuff in life I'm really enjoying and I'd have to give up, to make that sort of commitment for two and a half years, to try and get there.

"Having just watched a winter Olympics, that little itch is starting to get a bit bigger.

"It's going to need scratching at some stage, one way or another.''

Sir Steven Redgrave, hailed as Britain's greatest Olympian, was 38 when he won his fifth gold medal at the 2000 Sydney Games.