'I'll be honest, I've done a few push-ups' - From Toyko to MIQ for Olympian Bond

10:12 am on 5 August 2021

With Olympic gold in tow, many of New Zealand's star athletes have returned from Tokyo and are waiting to be reunited with proud family and friends after they're released from quarantine.

Hamish Bond one of two New Zealand flagbearers, along with Sarah Hirini.

Hamish Bond is in MIQ after taking home gold in his fourth Olympics. Photo: Photosport

Kiwi rowing legend Hamish Bond has returned from his fourth Olympics, where he's been credited for much of the success of the men's eight who took gold in the 2020 Games.

Bond is now in MIQ along with other returning Olympians.

"It's not too rough, the staff do their best to look out after us.

"It's actually quite a good, I guess, time to decompress. A sort of forced period of reflection and contemplation."

Bond, 35, has earned medals at three consecutive Olympics now and is one of New Zealand's most honoured athletes, but the eight victory may have been one of the sweetest.

Bond said he was a bit surprised to win the gold in the men's rowing eight, but it was also a long-standing goal.

"When I came into the sport from my stint in cycling post-Rio trying to get the eight ... that was the big motivation because that was a glaring omission ... from the success that was had as a country over the last 20 years in the sport of rowing.

"You know, we've won pretty much everything else but the eight is the blue-ribbon event and it's the hardest event for a country to win because you need such depth and there's so many moving parts. You need to get everyone on the same page on the right day.

"It's a boat class that pretty much all the top international rowing nations target."

Gold medalists New Zealand Men's eight; Matt Macdonald (stroke), Shaun Kirkham, Phillip Wilson, Dan Williamson, Michael Brake, Tom Murray, Hamish Bond, Tom Mackintosh (bow) and Sam Bosworth (coxswain).
Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Rowing, Tokyo, Japan on Friday 30th July 2021.

Photo: Steve McArthur/Photosport Ltd 2021

Bond said the team were strongly inspired by the skill of the women's eight.

"We've really targeted getting on a level with the women's eight."

Now with two weeks in isolation to face in a small hotel room, Bond admits it's a change of pace and hard to come down from constant Olympic activity.

"Look, I'll be honest, I've done a few push-ups.

"We were allowed outside for the first time yesterday, a relatively small concrete car park on the south side of the building, unfortunately, so I still haven't seen the sun.

"We're not allowed to do anything that makes us breathe heavily, so just walking."

A friend just dropped off a stationary exercise bike for Bond, which he is allowed to use.

"I didn't want to row at the moment, because that's obviously what I've been doing a lot of lately. So it's easy just to sit on a bike and turn the legs over.

"I think it is quite important for athletes for your heart's condition to pump a lot of blood, it's not a great idea just to flick the switch off straight away."

Now that Tokyo is over, Bond is not quite ready to make a call on what's next.

"I don't have plans. My focus was on Tokyo and that was the finish line in terms of where my goals and aspirations ended.

"I'm quite quick at turning the page. You look back on occasion, mainly for learnings going forward.

"Now's the time to sort of sit back and look and see what the options are going forward. I really think it'll be a good few months before it becomes obvious what the way forward is."

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs

We have regular online commentary of local and international sport.