Olympics-Rowing-Kiwi champs are two different birds

By Angus MacSwan

RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Hamish Bond and Eric Murray pull together superbly as one of the greatest partnerships in rowing history. But the New Zealanders' differ greatly in mentality, Bond says.

The two Kiwis left their competitors in their wake as they won the gold medal in the men's pairs in the Olympic rowing regatta on Thursday, repeating their triumph of the London Games in 2012.

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They had a commanding lead by the race's midway point and widened the distance between themselves and the rest of the pack as the race went on. The world record holders are undefeated since 2009.

Bond was in a reflective mood after the race.

"Eric and I are different people. He basically thinks we can't lose, that we go out on the water and win. I tend to worry about what will go wrong," he said.

Their different natures were evident at the post-race news conference, with the rugged, rangy Murray taking the lead and the academic-looking Bond biding his time.

When he spoke, he admitted that the pressure of their success was taking a toll.

"We will probably take a little bit of time to reflect. The last 12 months have been draining in terms of training and drive," Bond said.

"But you still have to excel every day."

Murray then chipped in, saying: "Now is not the time to make hasty decisions. We'll let the dust settle."

The 30-year-old Bond has a degree in business studies and works in finance. It takes his mind off rowing, he has said. He lists his hobbies as reading and studying.

Murray once took on New Zealand rugby league player Manu Vatuvei in a charity boxing match, losing on points.

The two have said in the past they do not socialise much outside the rowing world.

As well as winning Olympic gold twice, they have won six World Championships and seven World Cups.

"It's just about going out and winning every race. We're proud in our performance and we don't want to let anyone down," Bond said.

Murray said they were aware that everyone wanted to topple them from their throne.

"We've always had that target on our back, but we've tried to be a half-step in front of everyone," he said. (Reporting by Angus MacSwan; Editing by Bill Rigby)

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