Hamish Bond retired as one of the most decorated athletes in New Zealand history © Getty Images

Rowing great Hamish Bond has announced his retirement from the sport, leaving a legacy of era-defining success.

Bond won three successive golds at three consecutive Olympic Games.

He won his first two golds in rowing as part of a coxless pair with Eric Murray at London 2012 and Rio 2016.

Once his team-mate retired, Bond switched to leading the men’s eight crew at Tokyo 2020, where he also won gold.

Bond, who is regarded as one of New Zealand’s most decorated athletes, is also a seven-time world champion in coxless rowing as well as champion in coxed-rowing.

The 35-year-old said he is now at a stage in his life where he needs to focus on his family.

"It does feel strange saying that I’m retiring but I feel very fortunate to be walking away while at the top of the sport," Bond said.

"Rowing for the bulk of my career has defined me as a person, I now have my family and other priorities and it feels like the right move to make."

Hamish Bond, bottom row, second from the left, with his gold-winning men’s eight crew at Tokyo 2020 ©Getty Images
Hamish Bond, bottom row, second from the left, with his gold-winning men’s eight crew at Tokyo 2020 ©Getty Images

He added: "My main focus is family and being a parent for the next while and just working out my next step.

"I’m just going to take my time and enjoy the summer with my family."

He and his wife, Lizzie, are parents of Finlay, Imogen, and Phoebe.

Bond, now based in Mount Maunganui, admitted he was close to retiring before his Tokyo 2020 success due to the pandemic, but Lizzie motivated him to end on a high.

"The last few years has been challenging for everyone, not just athletes, and there were times when I seriously considered calling it a day," he said.

"It was taking more and more mental discipline to keep going and I could feel my hunger to punish myself in training waning.

"It was Lizzie who gave me a kick and said ‘no, you’re not ending things like this’, and I really needed that to keep going and finish my sporting career in the right way."

Bond started rowing as a 13-year-old at Otago Boys High School in Dunedin.

He then began to pursue rowing on a full-time basis when he moved to Cambridge aged 20.

After coming seventh at Beijing in 2008, he teamed up with Murray for the 2009 Rowing World Championships.

Thereafter, the two rowers paired together and went on an unprecedented 69-race winning streak.

Their dominance led to them setting the world best time in the pairs event during the heats at the London 2012 Olympics.

They set another world best time, this time for the men’s coxed pair, at the 2014 World Rowing Championships.

Other awards Bond achieved included rowing’s Thomas Keller Medal, New Zealand’s Supreme Halberg award on two occasions and the supreme Halberg Award Decade Champions in 2021, while Bond was also appointed to the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to rowing.

"I’ve been incredibly privileged to have gone on this journey and my career has far exceeded anything I dared to dream when I was starting out," Bond said.

"I never anticipated having the success that followed."

Kereyn Smith, chief executive of the New Zealand Olympic Committee, paid tribute to Bond’s success and the impact he has had on the country.

"We’ve been incredibly privileged to have worked with Hamish for almost a decade and a half," Smith said.

"Hamish has been a leader on and off the water. He’s been an inspiration to young athletes all around the country and he’s embodied the values of the New Zealand team.

"His drive and determination have been second to none. Hamish is a true Olympic great and his legacy and place in New Zealand’s sporting history is well and truly entrenched. We wish him all the best for his next chapter."