Hamish Bond says he and Eric Murray scaled heights in rowing he wouldn't have dared believe.
Bond took to social media on Monday to pay tribute to long-time pairs crewmate Murray, who has announced his retirement.
It ends one of the sport's most enduring and successful combinations.
Between them, Bond and Murray were unbeaten for seven years, powering to emphatic gold medals at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics while also scooping seven world championship titles together.
Murray, 34, says his enjoyment has waned and he has decided to devote time to his family and other pursuits rather than on an Olympic campaign.
Bond said he would always hold Murray in the highest regard.
"Eric's retirement from rowing signals the end of an era," Bond wrote on Instagram, next to a photo of the pair.
"I am very proud of all that we have achieved as a combination over the last eight years, far exceeding my wildest dreams.
"I have always respected Eric's ability as a rower and will forever be in awe of some performances that seemed beyond human."
Bond said the partnership was, critically, a tight one.
They shared the same approach to gut-busting training and, in races, Bond never once doubted that Murray would dig in and have his back.
The rowing future of Bond remains uncertain, with the 31-year-old having taken a break for at least a year to test his potential as a road cyclist.
If he returns to rowing, he has a tantalising message for Murray.
"If I find my way back into a boat, there will always be a seat free on bowside," he wrote.
New Zealanders with multiple golds at the Olympics
4 Ian Ferguson
3 Paul MacDonald
2 Danyon Loader, Valerie Adams, Mark Todd, Simon Dickie, Mahe Drysdale, Lisa Carrington, Dick Joyce, Alan Thompson, Caroline Evers-Swindell, Georgina Evers-Swindell, Hamish Bond, Eric Murray.