Rowing New Zealand boss Simon Peterson has paid lavish tribute to the retiring double Olympic champion Eric Murray.
With team mate Hamish Bond, Murray won six world championships and two Olympic coxless pair crowns. He revealed his retirement in a women's magazine today.
''In terms of New Zealand sport they will go up with the greats in my view," Peterson said.
''I'm not into comparing individuals from other sports. But they are legends of our sport.
''Twenty years from now and you look back and I think the surnames Bond and Murray will stand the test of time because of how good they were; because of how dominant they were."
Peterson said Murray set out to become the best in the world. The pair were in the New Zealand coxless four which won the world title in 2007 but failed to make the Olympic final in Beijing the following year.
They were then paired in the two-seater the following year and remained undefeated through eight years.
''They kept getting better and better, ahead of the field the longer they were together and that's something quite special."
Peterson said he hadn't been surprised at the news, a year after an Olympics when ''the emotions are gone and the hype of the Olympics are gone. These decisions are not unusual and (Murray's) is not without our support.
''We'll do whatever we can to keep him close to the sport."
Bond has taken a year out from rowing to concentrate on cycling and has made an encouraging start. RNZ aren't about to start pressing Bond for a commitment next year.
''We won't know what Hamish's plans are until later this year and we will give him time and respect he deserves to make his decision."
Peterson doubted Murray's decision would impact on Bond.
''They are both individual elite athletes and make their decisions in their own way. Hamish was very clear after Rio he wanted to get away and test himself in the cycling environment."
Tom Murray, out of the New Zealand eight, and former lightweight four team James Hunter, form the coxless pair this year.
Should Bond return, it is more likely to be either challenging for Mahe Drysdale's single seat job or possibly in an eight. So Murray and Hunter have first dibs on making an extended run at the pair long term.
Peterson hopes to keep Murray, who turns 35 on Saturday, close to the sport, ''so all the IP (intellectual property) is not lost".