David Leggat on sport

David Leggat is a Herald sport writer

Olympics: Trust drove Bond and Murray to gold

By David Leggat

Mark down trust as the key component in the Olympic success of gold medallists Eric Murray and Hamish Bond on Eton Dorney today.

The coxless pair completed a 100 percent winning record over the four-year Olympic cycle with a decisive victory in the final, the blond duo completing the 2000m course in 6min 16.65 seconds, almost 5s ahead of silver medallists Germain Chardin and Dorian Mortelette, with British pair George Nash and William Satch taking the bronze.

It was half of a golden double for New Zealand, with single sculler Mahe Drysdale winning his title about 40 minutes later.

Anything other than a win, and by a solid margin would have been among the shocks of the regatta. Their dominance of the discipline has been overwhelming since they came together in 2009, after being members of the coxless four who won the world title in 2007 but missed the A final at the Beijing Olympics.

''You've got to trust the other person," Murray, who sits in the bow seat, said. ''That's what we've got, trust in the other person to do as much work as each other.

''We had the same belief of what we wanted to achieve. We had the same direction so we knew where we wanted to go and had the same idea of how to do it, and the attitude to do it."

Bond revealed his greatest fear was not being able to produce what they needed when it really mattered. He need not have worried. Once the caught the French pair around 750 metres into the race, it was all New Zealand.

''To go unbeaten over the four-year cycle has completely blown away our expectations," Bond said.

''We're now in a place where we expect to win. Anything else is not good enough. That's our own expectations."

Murray believes sheer hard work was also an ingredient in the win.

''There's a big disparity between Hamish and I and the rest of the (New Zealand) sweep squad because we do more work than anybody else does," he said.

''You could put that down to our attitude but also put it down to what (head coach) Richard (Tonks) does with his programme.

''You're either in it to survive or don't be there. That's his philosophy; either do what he says or piss off."

As for the future Murray hinted they'd like to stay together but they want to have some down time and reflect before looking ahead.

''This year we've really been focused on this moment," Murray said.

''There's no point looking too far ahead and making plans because we wanted to get this outcome.

''And when the outcome is good it's a lot easier to say continue on. To not come away with how you expected you start questioning yourself and why you would continue putting yourself through what we do day in day out if you're not going to get the rewards you think you can get."

The pair are New Zealand's first gold medallists in the men's pair out of the nine Olympic rowing titles for the country. New Zealand have won 20 Olympic medals altogether, with two silver and nine bronze rounding the collection out.

New Zealand have the chance for two more Olympic medals on the final day of the regatta, through lightweight double scullers Storm Uru and Peter Taylor, and single sculler Emma Twigg.

- NZ Herald

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