Olympic countdown - Hamish Bond
In the first of a series of interviews with the country’s Olympic rowing stars, we catch up with four time world champion Hamish Bond, who along with pair’s partner Eric Murray heads to London unbeaten on the international scene in the men’s pair since they formed the crew post Beijing.
RNZ - Not long to go now, how are you feeling?
HB - I am feeling pretty good. Just trying to make each session count. Our preparation to date has gone fairly well so we are just making sure we don't let it slip in the last month.
RNZ - As the Olympic cycle counts down to its climax, what are the focal points of your training?
HB - We are doing a bit more speed work now. Making sure we are confident and comfortable at race pace. Since we have been in Europe we have not felt super confident in our race rhythm but it is coming together well now.
RNZ - How is the mood in the camp – excited, fearful?
HB - I think the mood is pretty status quo at the moment. There are still a lot of training sessions to get through so no use worrying about things that you can't control at this stage. I am currently rooming with Mahé; it is good to have his experience around.
RNZ - When away on a training regime like you are, do you ever get any inclining of the atmosphere building up back at home?
HB - We are largely quite removed from it to be honest. Other than reading the odd newspaper article you do not really get much sense of it. For me this is a good thing as I sometimes have a tendency to get a bit apprehensive or nervous.
RNZ - Who do you fear most in the Games and why?
HB - I do not fear any of the other crews. I am aware of them and respect them but I am not fearful. We have shown that we are capable of winning and have beaten all of our opposition to date. The thing I fear more is not performing to my own expectations and capabilities; that is the real challenge.
RNZ - On the flip side of the coin, how does it feel to be a New Zealand athlete and by definition one of the most feared crew/competitors?
HB - It is a positive for us I think. Having not been beaten since the last Olympics none of our competitors can totally believe that they can beat us. Of course it can still happen that is why we try and minimise the possibility as much as we can with our day to day training.
RNZ - Do you have much contact with friends and family at home at this part of the Olympic cycle?
HB: Not a lot other than the odd Skype call or email. I guess we are lucky in that the NZ rowing team are your friends and family so you get the sense that they are travelling with you all the time.
RNZ - If you are reading a book or books at the moment – what are they?
HB: I have not done a lot of reading on this tour but did just finish "The Barefoot Runner". It is about Ethiopian Abebe Bikila who was the first black African Olympic medallist. He won the marathon in both 1960 and 64, the first time in Rome he ran in bare feet. It is largely told from the perspective of his Finnish coach and gives an interesting insight into the political unrest present in Ethiopia at the time.
RNZ - How is the European food!??
HB - The food has been pretty good on this tour which is important given the amount of fuel that we require. For lunch I just had a cheesy risotto with chicken breast and a salad!
RNZ - Any messages for the supporters back home?
HB - Thank you for all the support. Rest assured we will do our best to make you proud and look forward to seeing everybody when we get back.