Mission accomplished for NZ's golden pair

JONATHAN MILLMOW IN LONDON
Last updated 09:21 04/08/2012

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Mission accomplished and time to put the feet up.

That is the message from New Zealand's perfect men's pair of Hamish Bond and Eric Murray after bolting to a gold medal at the Olympic rowing regatta yesterday.

Neither is in a rush to make a decision on their next move, though Murray joked going under six minutes would be something to aim for.

 "I think we will challenge ourselves but we need to step back and think what is going to motivate us," Bond said.

Bond and Murray crowned four years of domination with their predictably easy win, taking their tally of consecutive internationals wins to 37.

Both say the key to their success is "trust" and the motivation is to go as fast as they can. Just this week they took a staggering six seconds off the world record in the heats when stopping the clock at 6mins 08.50sec.

 "We've got trust that the other person is going to do as much work as you and that is why Hamish and I have gone so well," Murray said.

"There is a big disparity between Hamish and I and the rest of the sweep oar squad in New Zealand because we probably do more work than anybody else does.

"You could put that down to our attitude and you could also put that down to what Richard (coach Dick Tonks) does with his programme, you're either in it to survive or don't be there, that's his philosophy."

Bond and Murray moved into the pair's boat after a disappointing experience in the fours in Beijing, where they only managed to win the B final.

Bond said over the four year period only once have they been stretched to the limit.

"The only time we have really tapped it out was the (world championship) final in Karapiro when we were behind and had to come through. You keep your power dry for those moments," Bond said.

For all that, some self doubt crept in on the eve of the Olympic final.

Both men conceded as much, Murray saying he was nervous and Bond admitting the level of expectation created added pressure.

"I wrote down that my biggest fear this whole campaign was not being able to deliver on what I knew I was capable of," Bond said.

"I'm just pleased we did, it was a lot of effort and a lot of training. Someone came up with some stats, something ridiculous like 17,000 strokes were taken in training for each stroke of that final. I'm just pleased it was all worthwhile."

While the pair are a rock solid combination on the water, they give each other space off it. Both live in Cambridge where they train together for "four to six" hours every day.

 "We live separate lives," Bond said.

"We get on well and that is largely down to mutual respect. We are quite different personalities. There is probably quite a lot of similarities as well like a shared goal, trust and when it is on the line he will try as hard as I will.

"That is what has probably allowed us to go through the four years without any major hiccups or conflict."

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And so, with their gold medals around their neck, off they headed to celebrate one remarkable partnership.

"This is the icing on the cake," Bond said.

"At times you don't enjoy the grind of the day to day training but when you look back, that is where the true satisfaction comes from, not the golden moments at the end.

"To go unbeaten over four years cycle has blown away any of our expectations. Having three world titles, having the world's best time in the heats and now to get this no one can take that away. We are chuffed."

- Fairfax Media

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