Sporting achievement of the Year Finalist: Hamish Bond and Eric Murray

By David Leggat

Eric Murray and Hamish Bond
Hamish Bond and Eric Murray celebrate their emphatic Olympic coxless pairs triumph at Eton Dorney. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Hamish Bond and Eric Murray celebrate their emphatic Olympic coxless pairs triumph at Eton Dorney. Photo / Brett Phibbs

When you've gone unbeaten through an Olympic cycle there's only one fitting way to top it off.

Think plonking a giant cherry on top, and so Eric Murray and Hamish Bond did just that when they capped a four-year period of utter dominance with an emphatic win in the coxless pair 2012 Games final at Eton Dorney.

Had there been any other result, it would have been a shattering comedown for the blond duo.

Put together for the start of the 2009 international campaign, Bond and Murray eventually saw off the only crew who even pressed them hard, Brits Peter Reed and Andy Triggs Hodge.

They beat the Brits in 14 straight world championship or world cup races, forcing the British officials to admit defeat and move them into the coxless four for the Games. The Kiwis were unbackable favourites for the final. They had set a world best time in their heat, 6min 8.5s.

Sir Steve Redgrave, Britain's five-time Olympic champion, said the race was for second.

French pair Germain Chardin and Dorian Mortelette gave some early cheek, led marginally at 500m and were hanging on at 1.51s down at halfway. Which was when Murray and Bond surged clear and as they powered down the course, eased away from their rivals, who were powerless to keep the margin respectable.

In the end, the New Zealanders clocked 6:16.65, 4.46s ahead of the French with Britain third.

There is a fresh challenge for Murray and Bond. Redgrave and Sir Matthew Pinsent were undefeated between their two Olympic golds in the same class in 1992 and 1996.

Bond said afterwards: "Before the semis I said we were at the Hillary Step, with the summit in sight. But now we're there and no one can take that away from us. Whatever happens in the future we'll know that over these four years we've achieved anything anyone could have set out to do in the pair."

Forty minutes later, Mahe Drysdale had his single scull title, and New Zealand had another golden Olympic hour to match Sir Peter Snell and Sir Murray Halberg at Rome 52 years ago.

Selections so far

Valerie Adams
Shot put Olympic gold medallist

Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie
Olympic gold medallists

The Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic
ANZ netball champions.

New Zealand Breakers
NBL champions

Nathan Cohen and Joseph Sullivan
Olympic gold medallists

The Chiefs
Super 15 champions

Hamish Bond and Eric Murray
Olympic gold medallists

Mahe Drysdale
Olympic gold medallist

Lisa Carrington
Olympic gold medallist

More to be named throughout the week

- NZ Herald

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