Editorial: Golden weekend for kiwis

By Dylan Thorne

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What a great sporting weekend.

It started on Friday night when Hamish Bond and Eric Murray made no contest of the rowing pair at the London Olympics.

Less than an hour later, former Tauranga rower Mahe Drysdale put his past Olympic agony behind him by adding a gold to the bronze he won in Beijing four years ago.

Not since the 1960 Olympics in Rome when Peter Snell and Murray Halberg both won gold has New Zealand won two gold medals in such a short space of time.

The utter dominance shown by Bond and Murray was staggering. The pair were never in danger and won the race by two boat lengths.

But, for me, the highlight was watching Drysdale, 33, dig deep to pull ahead of his main rival, Czech sculler Ondrej Synek.

The win was even more impressive after he revealed that he had vomited his way through the early morning.

It wasn't brought on by an illness like in 2008, but by nerves.

"It was one of the worst mornings of my life," Drysdale said. Not that it showed on the water, he pushed clear of Synek in the third 500 metres and held on as the Czech made a late sprint for the line.

After the race he revealed that he had nothing left in the tank over the last 200m.

Pure determination got him over the line.

He shared the joy of his victory with friends and family, many of whom are from Tauranga, on the shores of Lake Dorney.

It was also celebrated in the Bay with the president of Tauranga Rowing Club saying the win will no doubt inspire a new generation of local rowers to strive for Olympic glory.

Friday night's superb display on the water was followed by a bronze men's team pursuit for Jesse Sergent, Aaron Gate, Marc Ryan and Sam Bewley, who recovered from a shaky early ride against Australia to secure bronze in a ride-off against Russia.

On Saturday, Peter Taylor and Storm Uru won a bronze medal in the final of the lightweight double.

To top it off the Chiefs pulled off a fairytale 37-6 win over the Sharks in Hamilton to become the 2012 Super Rugby champions the same day. That win, combined with the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic netball team last month becoming the first New Zealand team to win the ANZ Championship and Drysdale's success on the water, means the region has much to be proud of on the sporting front.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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