Gold at last as superb rowing pair extend unbeaten record

EDITORIAL

They’ve done it, the magnificent pair of Hamish Bond and Eric Murray lifted the country’s midwinter gloom with a crushing win in the men’s coxless pairs — with it bringing New Zealand’s first gold medal of this Olympic Games.

They could not have done it in more style. Rowing in difficult conditions, they finished 2.8s ahead of the next pair.

In doing so they have entered a lofty pantheon of Kiwi sportspeople. Only seven others have won gold at successive Olympics, a list that includes luminaries like Peter Snell, Sir Mark Todd and Valerie Adams.

Amazingly they have won their last 69 international events in succession, starting from June 19, 2009. The pair are closing in on the record of the amazing American hurdler Ed Moses who went nine years, nine months and nine days without defeat.

This is yet another success for rowing, which was already viewed as one of New Zealand’s most successful international sports. Could it even rival rugby?

It also carries on a tradition of New Zealanders being most successful at Olympics when they are (a) sitting down and (b) preferably on the water.

Until this morning it had seemed that precious gold might never come. There was the failure of the men’s sevens team and stumbles at the final hurdle for the impressive women’s sevens side and the equestrian team.

On the brighter side two new stars have emerged with silver medals, shooter Natalie Rooney and this morning canoeist Luuka Jones who finished second in the slalom after a brilliant final paddle. Our world champion men’s team sprint cyclists, Eddie Dawkins, Sam Webster and Ethan Mitchell, have also done us proud with a silver this morning.

There are still several potential gold medals ahead, most notably Valerie Adams who could make history as the first New Zealander to win gold at three successive Olympics. She is coming back from a long injury break and faces increased opposition, but nobody would doubt her determination.

As so often happens in sport, everything can change in the blink of an eye. That happened today.

They’ve done it, the magnificent pair of Hamish Bond and Eric Murray lifted the country’s midwinter gloom with a crushing win in the men’s coxless pairs — with it bringing New Zealand’s first gold medal of this Olympic Games.

They could not have done it in more style. Rowing in difficult conditions, they finished 2.8s ahead of the next pair.

In doing so they have entered a lofty pantheon of Kiwi sportspeople. Only seven others have won gold at successive Olympics, a list that includes luminaries like Peter Snell, Sir Mark Todd and Valerie Adams.

Amazingly they have won their last 69 international events in succession, starting from June 19, 2009. The pair are closing in on the record of the amazing American hurdler Ed Moses who went nine years, nine months and nine days without defeat.

This is yet another success for rowing, which was already viewed as one of New Zealand’s most successful international sports. Could it even rival rugby?

It also carries on a tradition of New Zealanders being most successful at Olympics when they are (a) sitting down and (b) preferably on the water.

Until this morning it had seemed that precious gold might never come. There was the failure of the men’s sevens team and stumbles at the final hurdle for the impressive women’s sevens side and the equestrian team.

On the brighter side two new stars have emerged with silver medals, shooter Natalie Rooney and this morning canoeist Luuka Jones who finished second in the slalom after a brilliant final paddle. Our world champion men’s team sprint cyclists, Eddie Dawkins, Sam Webster and Ethan Mitchell, have also done us proud with a silver this morning.

There are still several potential gold medals ahead, most notably Valerie Adams who could make history as the first New Zealander to win gold at three successive Olympics. She is coming back from a long injury break and faces increased opposition, but nobody would doubt her determination.

As so often happens in sport, everything can change in the blink of an eye. That happened today.

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