Eric Murray had a pretty simple explanation as to why he and Hamish Bond beat out fellow Olympic and world champions to be named the supreme Halberg Award Decade Champions.
They never lost.
The rowing pair won supreme honours for their triumphs including winning back-to-back gold medals at the Olympics in 2012 and 2016.
Bond and Murray won eight world championships, hold the record for most consecutive wins, and were awarded the Thomas Keller Medal, rowing's highest honour.
"You look at what's happened over the decade in different sports in the way people have developed their sport or been the leaders in their sport. And you look at Sophie Pascoe and what she's done for parasports and women's sport.
"When you start breaking down what has happened in this last decade it's amazing. There was only three women in that category but they won it a lot because of what they did was standout," Murray said.
"To be judged the top is really special. When you try and break it down and think why were Hamish and I better than anybody else in terms of judging. It's because the fact was we literally didn't lose a race.
"And it's sort of stupid to think about because when we got to a point where we were winning so many races we said 'we're trying to win every time and do the best that we possibly can'. And then ultimately when you add it up and at the end of it and it's a lot of races you think 'wow, nobody else could achieve that'."
Bond and Murray join an illustrious list of sporting legends to claim decade honours, with Dame Yvette Corlett (1950s), Sir Peter Snell (1960s), Sir John Walker (1970s), Sir Richard Hadlee (1980s), Danyon Loader (1990s) and Carolyn Meyer and Georgina Earl (2000s) the previous recipients.
Bond said it was an honour to be recognised alongside those names.
"To be in the same breath as athletes like that is something special. New Zealand takes pride in athletes boxing above their weight and you look at those athletes who have won this award in the past and that is what they epitomize. To be on that same podium is special."
How will they share the award?
"How about a rowing race to decide it?" quipped Bond who is in the men's eight rowing squad for the Tokyo Olympics while Murray is retired from the sport. It's understood both will receive a smaller statuette.
Bond and Murray also claimed the Team of the Decade award, beating out teams like the All Blacks and the Silver Ferns, in a night that saw nine awards presented.
Lisa Carrington won the Sportswoman of the Decade over only two other finalists in the category – Dame Valerie Adams and Lydia Ko. The canoe racer is a three-time Olympic medallist having won gold in the K1 200 in London in 2012 and Rio in 2016. Carrington won a bronze medal in the K1 500 Olympic final, becoming the first New Zealand female to win two medals in a single Olympics. She has continued to champion the sport, amassing 10 world titles from 2011 to 2019.
Former All Blacks captain Richie McCaw was named the Sportsman of the Decade after leading the team to two Rugby World Cups in 2011 and 2015. He became the first All Black to reach 100 test caps and captained the team for 110 of his 148 test matches.
Sophie Pascoe was named the Para Athlete of the Decade. The Para swimmer, who won the Para Athlete of the Year Award six times, has dominated the sport over the past decade. Pascoe is a multiple world champion and became New Zealand's most decorated Paralympian after claiming her 15th medal in Rio.
Canoe coach Gordon Walker claimed the Coach of the Decade honour after helping Carrington to her accomplishments in Rio in 2016. Walker also coached four boats to win gold at the 2017 Canoe Sprint World Championships and Carrington to her gold medal in the K1 200 at the same event. He also coached the New Zealand's women's team to five medals at the 2018 Canoe Sprint World Championships in Portugal and Carrington to win the K1 200.
Ko won the Emerging Talent Athlete of the Decade for becoming the youngest person, at 14 years old, to win a professional golf tour event at the NSW Open on the ALPG Tour. She became the youngest player and first New Zealander to win an LPGA Tour event at the Canadian Open at age 15.
Double scullers Nathan Cohen and Joseph Sullivan received the award for New Zealand's Favourite Sporting Moment of the Decade – the only category chosen by the public, for their moment at the 2012 London Olympic Games when they stormed home from behind to win the gold medal.
The Sport New Zealand Leadership Award was presented to the president of New Zealand Football, Johanna Wood.
Halberg Awards Decade Champion winners
Halberg Award Decade Champion: Men's Pair, Hamish Bond and Eric Murray (rowing)
Team of the Decade: Men's Pair, Hamish Bond and Eric Murray (rowing)
Para Athlete of the Decade: Sophie Pascoe (Para swimming)
Sportswoman of the Decade: Lisa Carrington (canoe racing)
Sportsman of the Decade: Richie McCaw (rugby)
Coach of the Decade: Gordon Walker (canoe racing)
Emerging Talent Athlete of the Decade: Lydia Ko (golf)
New Zealand's Favourite Sporting Moment of the Decade: Nathan Cohen and Joseph Sullivan (rowing)
Sport New Zealand Leadership Award: Johanna Wood (football)