Never Say Never Again
9 March 2019
By Göran R Buckhorn
On Wednesday, Rowing New Zealand announced that Hamish Bond – two-time Olympic gold medallist in the men’s pairs and seven-time world champion in different boat classes – is back in the federation’s summer squad training programme with his eyes set on Tokyo 2020.
After two years as an elite cyclist, taking a bronze in the men’s road cycling in the 2018 Commonwealth Games, Hamish Bond, 33, is tired of facing forwards and will return to facing backwards in the sport that rendered him many medals together with his pair partner Eric Murray. Jointly, they achieved a so far unbeaten record of 69 winning races. Bond is training for selection in the men’s eight in April, aiming for the 2020 Olympic rowing in Tokyo.
‘Hamish’s past achievements in the sport of rowing and more recently in cycling, are proof enough that his natural talents and hunger for success are an unstoppable force. We’re obviously very happy to have Hamish return to the Rowing NZ programme and look forward to seeing him out on the water again,” said Simon Peterson, Rowing NZ Chief Executive, according to Rowing NZ’s website.
‘When I stepped away from rowing after the Rio Olympics in 2016, I had achieved everything I set out to in the men’s pair. After two years away from the sport, I have come to the decision that there are more things I would like to achieve in rowing before my time is done. At any level, the men’s and women’s eights are the most exciting events in the sport, and representing New Zealand in a bigger crew has become a challenge and opportunity I can’t ignore,’ said Bond in a statement.
He continued: ‘My challenge is to get up to speed as quickly as possible, but without injury. I can’t, of course, do 20km rows, but I’m not starting from square one. My heart and lungs are good and my legs are the best they’ve ever been.’ Bond admits, though, that he will have to work on his boat feel.
Previously, Bond has taken two Olympic gold medals in the coxless pairs, in 2012 and 2016, and seven World Championships titles, including the coxless pairs, coxed pairs and fours. Together with Murray, Bond also claimed World Best Times in the men’s pairs and coxed pairs – both times still stand today. Off the water, the duo won New Zealand’s Supreme Halberg Award on two occasions, in 2012 and 2014, and were appointed to the New Zealand Order of Merit for their services to rowing in 2013. They were awarded the Thomas Keller Medal in 2018.
Eric Murray has made it clear that he will not follow in his old rowing buddy’s footsteps after suffering two years of ‘golfing and drinking beers’. The latter actually got him in trouble.