Herald sports writers Dylan Cleaver and David Leggat continue to count down New Zealand's great Olympic moments. Today, at number 10, Ferg and Macca seal the deal on their legendary status.

The Los Angeles regatta in 1984 is remembered fondly as the Olympics where New Zealand announced themselves as a kayaking power - golds in the K1 500m (Ian Ferguson), K1 1000m (Alan Thompson), K2 500m (Ferguson and Paul MacDonald) and K4 1000m (Grant Bramwell, Thompson, Ferguson and MacDonald).

But, if anything, their 1988 performance in Seoul sealed the legend of "Ferg and Macca".

A boycott had removed the European powerhouses from the field at Lake Casitas but they were all back in their boats in South Korea and determined to reassert their dominance.

Advertisement

First fears seemed to be confirmed when MacDonald came in for bronze in the K1 500m, a hair's breadth separating him and East Germany's Andreas Stahle, but they were left trailing in the wake of Hungarian Zsolt Gyulay. The gritty Thompson finished sixth in the K1 1000m.

In the eight-crew K2 500m final, the New Zealanders, West Germans and Americans were the only ones not to have come out from behind the Iron Curtain. The Americans finished eighth.

Ferg and Macca ensured the West would win, finishing ahead of the Soviets and Hungarians. They did it by opening a big lead and just clung on to finish ahead of the Russians by 0.17s.

Similar tactics nearly worked for them in the K2 1000m, but they were pipped into second by the American duo of Gregory Barton and Norman Bellingham.

Both attended Barcelona in 1992, but Ferguson, in his 40s, was racing against Father Time as much as his opponents. His record of attending five Olympics is remarkable - his first was Montreal - particularly when you consider he'd given up the sport on his return from Moscow in 1980. A trained accountant, Ferguson went into the video-game business until the Sports Foundation, with its increased funding for athletes, offered him a lifeline.

He made the most of it, becoming New Zealand's most decorated Olympian.