27 January 2022
By Göran R Buckhorn
Three-time Olympic gold medallist Hamish Bond has retired from rowing.
A few hours ago, the news came that 35-year-old Hamish Bond, one of New Zealand’s most decorated athletes and Olympians, has decided to retire from the sport of rowing.
With Eric Murray, Bond won Olympic gold in the pairs in London 2012 and Rio 2016. His third Olympic championship title came last summer in Tokyo in the eights. It was the first time an eight from New Zealand had won the Olympic gold medal since the gold medal winning Kiwi crew of 1972.
Among other victories can be added eight world championship titles.
Bond teamed up with Murray in the pair and won gold at the 2009 World Championships. They then embarked on an unprecedented 69-race winning streak, never losing a race together.
”It does feel strange saying that I’m retiring, but I feel very fortunate to be walking away while at the top of the sport,” Bond told media in New Zealand. “Rowing for the bulk of my career has defined me as a person, I now have my family and other priorities and it feels like the right move to make.”
I am sure his wife Lizzie and their three children Finlay, Imogen and Phoebe will agree.
Bond said he considered throwing in the towel before the Tokyo Games. He credits his wife, Lizzie, with keeping him in the sport.
“The last few years has been challenging for everyone, not just athletes, and there were times when I seriously considered calling it a day. It was taking more and more mental discipline to keep going and I could feel my hunger to punish myself in training waning. It was Lizzie who gave me a kick and said ‘No, you’re not ending things like this’, and I really needed that to keep going and finish my sporting career in the right way.”
“We’ve been incredibly privileged to have worked with Hamish for almost a decade and a half,” Kereyn Smith, New Zealand Olympic Committee chief executive, said in a statement. “Hamish has been a leader on and off the water. He’s been an inspiration to young athletes all around the country and he’s embodied the values of the New Zealand team.”
Smith continued: “His drive and determination have been second to none. Hamish is a true Olympic great and his legacy and place in New Zealand’s sporting history is well and truly entrenched. We wish him all the best for his next chapter.”
Bond and Murray received New Zealand’s supreme Halberg Award on two occasions and were named the Halberg decade champions in 2021. They 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.