1 May 2017

Murray retires, ending 69-race winning streak

8:16 am on 1 May 2017

The two time Olympic rowing champion Eric Murray has announced his retirement from the sport.

Hamish Bond, left, and Eric Murray celebrate with their gold medals on the podium after wining the Men's Pair Final of the Rowing events of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Lagoa Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 11 August 2016.

Eric Murray, right, with his long-time rowing partner Hamish Bond. Photo: AFP

Rowing New Zealand confirmed the 34-year-old's departure from competitive rowing yesterday.

Murray's retirement will end his winning streak with coxless pair partner Hamish Bond.

Murray and Bond were unbeaten in their 69 races, winning gold medals at the Rio and London Olympics.

The pair joined Mahe Drysdale in taking a break from the sport after last year's games, and Bond has since embarked on a road cycling career.

Rowing New Zealand CE Simon Peterson said he talked to Murray about a week ago when he clarified his position.

"It's a really mature decision and it's not a surprise to us. A year after the Rio Olympics is a good time to be making these decisions ...you've given yourself time to be post the emotions of the moment of Rio. You're also looking ahead to the Tokyo Olympics and asking yourself 'can I do this for another three years?'."

Peterson said while Murray's departure left a big hole in the programme, there was plenty of depth.

"While you'd love these guys to continue forever you know there's going to be an end point and what this does provide is an opportunity for the next generation."

Peterson said the pair stood at the top of their sport alongside some esteemed names and could not see their record being overtaken.

"They won't ever be dismantled because that record is one that will never be beaten in my view ...to stay there for that length of time is something quite special."

As for where Murray's announcement left Hamish Bond, Peterson said Bond was still to make his own decisions.

"He always indicated that 2017 was going to be a year of cycling for him ...he may well be back in the rowing programme in 2018 or even 2019. We'd welcome him back with open arms but if he choses another path we'd support him."

Murray and Bond also won six world championship titles in the pair as well as one in the coxed pair while Murray also won a world championship title in the four in 2007.

He and Bond also won the Halberg Supreme award twice in 2012 and 2014.