Firm favourites for an Olympic gold medal, the “Kiwi Pair” are fast and they proved that by breaking the World and Olympic Best Time in the Olympic heats of the pair, progressing directly to the A-Final. They smashed the previous World Best Time held by Matthew Pinsent and James Cracknell of Great Britain by some five seconds.

“We weren’t even balls-out,” remarked a confident Murray after the race, indicating that there is more speed to come from this formidable crew in the final to be raced at 11:50am (GMT) on Friday 3 August, 2012.

“I knew given the right conditions we could be faster than that. It’s a milestone we always wanted to achieve, it’s another thing off the list, and the only obvious admission is … well, obvious. That’s what we’re targeting – getting the gold medal. That will be a full set of achievements in the pair.”

“We’re both pretty dogged, we continually strive to get better on a daily basis. That’s our biggest attribute. We have a belief we can be the best, we know we can’t be the outright best in certain parameters, but as a combination of all the small things, power to weight, technique, we can be one of the best. We’ve really strived to step on every regatta, every season. It’s rhetoric, people say this, but I think we really try and do that rather than just say it,” added Bond.

The story of how Murray and Bond came to this point is remarkable. Winning the 2007 World Rowing Championships in the men’s four, they went to Beijing with a strong chance of a medal. However, they did badly in the semifinals and raced the B-Final to finish seventh overall. With the taste of bitter disappointment in their mouths, Murray and Bond contemplated their future in rowing. After a few training sessions in a pair together, they knew this was a combination that had serious potential. Since the duo has been undefeated as a pair since first racing together in 2009.

So, what of the training? What training does it take to get to this level of excellence?

“We just do what we’re told. In our programme, you do as our coach (Dick Tonks) tells you and it seems to work really well. He’s producing results from it.”

Murray’s father-in-law won an Olympic gold medal in the men’s eight at the 1972 Olympics and Murray remarked, “For New Zealand that was one of the nation’s defining Olympic moments. It’s very special to have a father-in-law like that.”

Murray’s family are present at this Olympic rowing regatta, including his son Zach – whose name he has tattooed on his arm. “It’s very special having a son. It’s very cool being a father. It’s very special to have him here at this regatta.”

Murray and Bond will row to complete the final part of their astounding career in the pair and create a legacy which will last for years to come.