Olympic champion Hamish Bond retiring from rowing

Otago rowing great Hamish Bond has dipped his last oar in the water.

Bond has this morning announced his retirement from the sport.

The three-time Olympic champion leaves rowing as one of New Zealand’s most decorated athletes and Olympians, having won gold in the coxless pair with crewmate Eric Murray at both the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games, before leading the men’s eight crew to gold at Tokyo 2020.

He is the first male New Zealander to win three successive Olympic gold medals. Bond is also an eight-time world champion.
The 35-year-old says he’s known for a while that it was the right time for him to hang up the oars.

Hamish Bond. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
Hamish Bond. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH

“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,” said Bond.

“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.”

Bond, now based in Mt Maunganui, says he never could have imagined what would follow when he began rowing as a 13-year-old at Otago Boys High School.

“I’ve been incredibly privileged to have gone on this journey and my career has far exceeded anything I dared to dream when I was starting out. I never anticipated having the success that followed.”

“The obvious pinnacles for me were winning in London, that first Olympic gold medal, and then winning gold with the eight in Tokyo, they’re phenomenal memories.”

Bond says he considered throwing in the towel before the Tokyo Olympic 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.”

He’s now looking forward to spending more time at home.

“My main focus is family and being a parent for the next while and just working out my next step. I’m just going to take my time and enjoy the summer with my family.”

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