Olympic gold medal rowers Hamish Bond and Eric Murray have capped off an outstanding 2012 by winning the Lonsdale Cup.
The prestigious award goes to the athlete or team who made the most outstanding contribution to Olympic or Commonwealth sport in the preceding year.
Bond and Murray were named winners ahead of New Zealand's five other Olympic gold medallists - Mahe Drysdale (rowing), Lisa Carrington (canoe sprint), Valerie Adams (athletics), Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie (sailing) and Nathan Cohen and Joseph Sullivan (rowing).
The pair were unbeaten for four years heading into the London Olympics and highlighted their class by setting a world's-best time in the heats before powering through to take gold.
Their gold-medal winning race was New Zealand's most-watched event of the London Olympics and their strength on the water proved their mettle as one of New Zealand's best-performing teams in history.
"It's a great end to a great year,'' Bond said. "It's a privilege to receive this award.''
New Zealand Olympic Committee secretary general Kereyn Smith said she was delighted to announce the award. "Hamish and Eric are simply outstanding athletes, but more than that they have represented New Zealand with pride and honour,'' she said. "Their achievements have inspired us all and I'm thrilled that they have accepted the Lonsdale Cup for 2012.''
Yesterday Bond hinted to Radiosport that he's leaning towards recommitting to another Olympic Games in an attempt to defend their title in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
He said it was an important decision to make and he must be sure he's doing it for the right reasons.
"We have essentially achieved everything in our event, we've won the world title a few times. We've got the world record and we won the Olympic gold medal. So there's, other than doing it all again, not much we can do.''
The Lonsdale Cup was first presented in 1961 to Sir Murray Halberg. Since then it has been awarded to outstanding New Zealand athletes, including Sir John Walker, Sir Peter Snell, Danyon Loader, Rob Waddell and last year's winner Valerie Adams.
The Lonsdale Cup winner is selected by the board of the NZOC.