Amazing Sports Stories 8: Bond and Murray

The only way to stop these two guys is to screw a hole in the bottom of the boat… even then I wouldn’t bet against them reaching the finish line first before they sank. Mark Reason, Sports writer

Number one rowers

By Roger Childs

Bond and MurrayNew Zealand won six gold medals at the recent World Rowing Championships in Amsterdam. This was two more than the next best country. Amazingly, two of the Kiwi golds were won by pair scullers Hamish Bond and Eric Murray. They are arguably the greatest rowers of all time: a bold claim, but probably true. Over the last six years they have been unbeaten and won 19 international championships. The pair seemingly never tire of hearing our national anthem played at medal ceremonies and usually sing along.

An extraordinary record

Bond and Murray medalistsSince Bond and Murray came together as a pair in 2009, the opposition has been fighting it out for second and third. They never have a close victory and the other teams are often not even in the picture as the Kiwis finish!

The pairing have a very smooth style with perfect synchronization, and possess the strength to race away from the field whenever they wish. Sometimes they will bide their time back in the field then power through in the last 1000m.

Their consecutive winning streak of over 50 races is a record for world rowing. They have won the World Championships in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014. Then in the 2012 Olympics they made history in their heat, by taking 6 seconds off the world’s best time. The final was a mere formality and once again they won by several boat lengths.

After the double in Amsterdam

“We wouldn’t be racing it if we didn’t think we were capable of winning both” Murray said

In the Amsterdam World Championships in late August, Bond and Murray set themselves the unique challenge of winning both the

  • coxless pairs
  • coxed pairs.

coxed pairIn the latter event they would be carrying 55kg coxswain Caleb Shepherd. The media wondered if this was a race too far and might endanger their amazing winning streak in the coxless pair. They needn’t have worried.

The extra weight in the boat was no problem. Helped by a favourable tail wind Bond, Murray and Shepherd, who probably couldn’t believe his luck, demolished the field to post a world’s best time by nearly 9 seconds.

Then the following day they came from last at half way to win by over 4 seconds. This was their 19th victory in the coxless pair.

Amongst the greats

Hamish Bond and Eric Murray rank with best New Zealand athletes of all time. They have been recognized at the Halberg Awards as Team of the Year in 2009 and 2012, and also won the Supreme Award in 2012.

In the world of rowing they are without peer. They have never been beaten in six years and always win easily. The next major milestone will be the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janiero.

Bond and Murray, along with the superb Kiwi talent in men’s and women’s single sculls, pairs and fours, are odds on to bring home a bucket full of medals.