Host City: London, Great Britain
Venue(s): Eton Dorney, Windsor
Date Started: July 28, 2012
Date Finished: August 3, 2012
The New Zealand duo of Eric Murray and Hamish Bond were in a league of their own for the men’s coxless pairs, having been undefeated in the event since 2009. The defending Olympic champions were Australia, but Duncan Free and the three time Olympic champion Drew Ginn were not in London and the nation was not believed to be in contention for a medal. The only possible challengers to Murray and Bond were believed to be the Canadians Dave Calder and Scott Frandsen. They had been the silver medalists at the 2008 Olympics and had a strong year leading up to the 2012 Olympics, but even they stood little chance against the powerhouse of Murray and Bond.
The New Zealanders held back nothing in the heats, winning theirs with a world record time of 6:08.50. Canada made the finals but, during the earlier rounds, the stronger teams looked to be those from Italy and Great Britain. Italy had Niccolo Mornati and Lorenzo Carboncini, both distinguished rowers who had earned a bronze medal in the event at the most recent World Championships. Britain, meanwhile, had decided to prioritize the men’s four, knowing that they would be unable to beat Murray and Bond. Thus, although Pete Reed and [Andrew Triggs-Hodge] had been the silver medalists at the 2011 World Championships, they were sent to the men’s four and were replaced by the rookie pair of George Nash and William Satch.
In the final the French team of Germain Chardin and Dorian Mortelette, not previously believed to be a medal contender, came out in front and remained there for the first half of the course. Beyond that point, however, an incredible drive from Murray and Bond placed them out in front of the pack and, by 1500m, the race for gold was already over as the New Zealanders were around four boat lengths ahead of the competition. The final two spots were much tighter battle, between Italy, France, and Great Britain. The French duo managed an upset when they beat out both of the more heralded teams for the silver medal, leaving Great Britain with bronze. The Canadians finished a disappointing sixth and last.