Published Friday 21 December 2012

Olympic gold medal Rowers Hamish Bond and Eric Murray have been awarded the Lonsdale Cup for 2012.

The prestigious award goes to the athlete or team who made the most outstanding contribution to Olympic or Commonwealth sport in the preceding year.

From an outstanding Olympic field that included six Olympic gold medal winning athletes and teams, Bond and Murray were named the winners.

The pair had remained unbeaten throughout their pre-Olympic build-up and capped off a stellar year securing a breath-taking world best time in the London 2012 heats before powering through to take 2012 Olympic gold medal.

With their trade-mark mixture of humility and humour the pair has inspired a generation of young Kiwis. Their gold medal winning race was New Zealand’s most-watched event of the Olympic Games and their strength on the water proved their mettle as one of New Zealand’s best-performing teams in history.

The pair also spends time with young New Zealanders, helping them understand what it means to excel at the highest levels.

Hamish Bond said winning Lonsdale Cup was a great honour. “It’s a great end to a great year,” he said on hearing the news. “It’s a privilege to receive this award.”

New Zealand Olympic Committee Secretary General Kereyn Smith said she was delighted to announce the award. “Hamish and Eric are simply outstanding athletes, but more than that they have represented New Zealand with pride and honour,” she said. “Their achievements have inspired us all and I’m thrilled that they have accepted the Lonsdale Cup for 2012.”

The Cup was first presented in 1961 to Sir Murray Halberg.

Since then it has been awarded to outstanding New Zealand athletes including Sir John Walker, Sir Peter Snell, Danyon Loader and Rob Waddell.

The Cup is sterling silver and of historic value, having its origins in a 1911 sporting festival between the United Kingdom, Canada and Australasia held to honour the accession of George V.

The Lonsdale Cup winner is selected by the board of the New Zealand Olympic Committee.