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‘It’s time to go’: Rowing legend Eric Murray announces retirement

by Row360

New Zealand’s Eric Murray, one half of the sport’s legendary Kiwi Pair alongside Hamish Bond, has announced his retirement from the sport today, claiming “We didn’t get that elation anymore.”

Murray and coxless pair crewmate Hamish Bond won gold at the London and Rio Olympics and are unbeaten internationally since 2009. They won six world championship titles in the coxless pair, as well as one in the coxed pair. Murray was also a member of a world champion coxless four in 2007.

Murray has not been available for international competitions in 2017 while Bond has also taken a break from rowing to focus on road cycling.

“My mind’s been pretty good, my body’s been pretty good, but it was my heart that was on the fence. So, it’s time to go.”

The decision to hang up the oars after 69 unbeaten races will allow him to focus on his family, wife Jackie and five-year-old son Zac. The 34-year-old said he simply couldn’t motivate himself to undergo another four-year Olympic campaign.

“I always said as long as my mind, my body and my heart were in it, then I could do this for as long as I like”.

“My mind’s been pretty good, my body’s been pretty good, but it was my heart that was on the fence. So, it’s time to go.”

Bond and Murray (right) on their way to gold at Rio in 2016. Photo by Igor Meijer.

The joy of winning was something that had also waned for he and Bond, Murray said.

His partner was first to pay tribute. “Certainly rowing with Eric made me better,” Bond said.

“He challenged me physically every single day – having him in the bow, I was having to hold one of the strongest people in world rowing straight for every stroke up and down the lake for every single day.

“That undoubtedly made me a better athlete. I’ve rowed in pairs with other people where it felt like a walk in the park as they couldn’t over-match me physically.”

Bond, now making rapid advances as a cyclist as he ponders changing codes for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, said Murray’s best quality was his consistency in training.

Above: Murray at home with son Zac. Photo by Hamish Burson.

Murray had knee surgery after the Olympics but had returned to training before making his decision. He had considered taking up a seat in the eights crew as a fresh challenge but had decided against it.

Sadly for rowing fans, a potential match up in Tokyo in 2020 against Croatia’s Sinkovic brothers, who switched to the pair this cycle, will no longer come to pass.

Murray was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2013 New Year Honours for his services to rowing.

Main photo: © Hamish Burson


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