June 29, 2018
Kiwi Pair Win 2018 Thomas Keller Medal
The 2018 Thomas Keller Medal, rowing’s most prestigious award, has been awarded to two recipients, Eric Murray and Hamish Bond of the ‘Kiwi Pair’.
The award recognises an “outstanding career in rowing” with Murray and Bond of New Zealand winning over a list of highly accomplished nominees.
Murray and Bond were the most successful men’s pair ever seen in rowing. They came together in the pair in 2009 and began an incredible run of 69 unbeaten races that included two Olympic gold medals until retirement after the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
The duo first found success in the men’s four, becoming World Champions in 2007. A disappointing seventh-place finish at the Beijing 2008 Olympics left Murray and Bond dissatisfied. This may have acted as motivation for Bond to contact Murray and suggest rowing the pair. They never lost another race together.
“…even on a ‘bad’ day they could still win an Olympic title.”
Despite rather different personalities, both rowers had a common belief of always striving to develop and improve their technique, treating every training session as another chance to win and having the utmost respect for their competition. As Bond described their rivalry with Great Britain’s top men’s pair, Pete Reed and Andrew T Hodge; “We drove them to become better athletes and they drove us to become better. So it was a good rivalry.”
Their training workload was huge with Bond and Murray doing enough so that even on a ‘bad’ day they could still win an Olympic title. This helped them set the World Best Time in the pair during the heats at the London Olympics. The time still stands today. They also set the World Best Time in the men’s coxed pair after deciding to ‘spice up’ their training and racing by entering two events at the 2014 World Rowing Championships. They raced in the pair and coxed pair, winning both.
Since retiring from rowing Murray has stayed involved in the sport while Bond has moved to cycling and has already proved himself internationally by winning a medal at the recent Commonwealth Games.
The Thomas Keller Medal presentation will take place on Saturday 14 July 2018 during the World Rowing Cup in Lucerne, Switzerland. Murray and Bond will receive the medal from Dominik Keller, son of FISA’s former President, the late Thomas Keller.
To view the list of previous Thomas Keller Medal winners, click here.
About the Thomas Keller Medal
The Thomas Keller Medal is the highest distinction in the sport of rowing. It recognises an exceptional international rowing career as well as exemplary sportsmanship and a legendary aspect. The award was named after the late President of FISA, Thomas Keller (Thomi). Born in 1924, Keller was elected President of FISA in 1958, at the age of 34 and was then the youngest-ever president of an international sports federation.
Following the 1988 Olympics, Thomi Keller spontaneously awarded the FISA Medal of Honour to Peter-Michael Kolbe and Pertti Karppinen to commemorate one of the greatest rivalries in the history of the sport and recognising their exceptional talent and sportsmanship. This shaped the idea of the Thomas Keller Medal which was initiated by the Keller family following Thomi’s passing in 1989. It was first awarded to the great Norwegian oarsman Alf Hansen in 1990. In 2017 the award went to Olympic Champion Katherine Grainger of Great Britain.
A profile on the life and legacy of Thomi Keller is featured in issue 023 of Row360.
Photos © Igor Meijer