Eric Murray
Eric Murray MNZM (cropped).jpg
Murray in 2013
Personal information
Full nameEric Gordon Murray
Born (1982-05-06) 6 May 1982 (age 40)[1]
Hastings, New Zealand[1]
Height196 cm (6 ft 5 in)[1]
Weight98 kg (216 lb)[1]
Medal record
Men's rowing
Representing  New Zealand
Olympic Games
Gold medal – first place 2012 London Men's coxless pair
Gold medal – first place 2016 Rio de Janeiro Men's coxless pair
World Championships
Gold medal – first place 2007 Munich Men's coxless four
Gold medal – first place 2009 Poznan Men's coxless pair
Gold medal – first place 2010 Karapiro Men's coxless pair
Gold medal – first place 2011 Bled Men's coxless pair
Gold medal – first place 2013 Chungjiu Men's coxless pair
Gold medal – first place 2014 Amsterdam Men's coxed pair
Gold medal – first place 2014 Amsterdam Men's coxless pair
Gold medal – first place 2015 Aiguebelette Men's coxless pair

Eric Gordon Murray MNZM (born 6 May 1982) is a retired New Zealand rower and gold medalist at the 2012 London Olympic Games, as well as at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.[1] He won six consecutive World Rowing Championship gold medals in the coxless pair plus two other gold medals in the coxless four and coxed pair. In 2012 an 2014 he set two world best times in the coxless pair and coxed pair respectively, which as of 2021 still stand as the world's best in those boat classes.

Personal life

Murray was born in Hastings.[1] His parents are Annette and Peter, and his older sister is Fiona. When Murray was an infant, the family moved to Manurewa. Soon after, they then bought land in Bombay, where Murray grew up and attended primary school.[2] At school, Murray enjoyed swimming competitions and later moved to triathlons. When he grew too tall and running became uncomfortable, he gave up on that while at Pukekohe High School.[3]

In 2006, he married Jackie Robertson, the eldest daughter of Gary Robertson. His father-in-law had been a member of the 1972 New Zealand eight that won gold at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany.[4]


At Pukekohe High School, Murray played rugby union and was looking for a summer sport to keep fit for the next season of winter rugby, so he and a friend went to the Mercer Rowing Club for an advertised open day. They had one race that year in a coxed four made up of novices, and they came last by a wide margin.[5] His school was not one of the traditional rowing schools, but Paula Twining was in his year and enjoyed successes at New Zealand championships, which gave inspiration to other novice rowers.[6] Murray first went to the Maadi Cup, New Zealand's premier school rowing regatta, in 1997, but did not achieve anything at Lake Karapiro. In 1998, when the regatta was held at Lake Ruataniwha, he came third in the U16 double, and second in the U16 quad.[7][8] He was in his last year at high school in 1999, and at that year's Maadi Cup, he won the U-17 quad national title.[9][10] After their 1999 success, their trainer—Charles Haggie—introduced them to people in the rowing scene so that they would end up with one of the dominant rowing clubs at the time after they left school: Avon Rowing Club, Auckland Rowing Club, or Waikato Rowing Club.[11]

His first world championship medal was as a member of the New Zealand coxless four at 2007 World Rowing Championships. Murray then went on to become a member of the triple World Champion coxless pair with fellow coxless four member Hamish Bond. They won gold at the 2009 World Rowing Championships, then went on to retain their title at the 2010 World Rowing Championships.[12] and 2011 World Rowing Championships. Murray's achievements in both the coxless four and the coxless pair have seen him win two Halberg sports awards[13] team of the year, firstly in 2007 with the four, and then in 2009 with Bond.

Murray has also represented New Zealand at two Olympic Games as part of the coxless four, coming 5th in the A Final at the 2004 Olympics and winning the B Final for a 7th place overall in 2008.[1]

In late December 2011 Murray set a new world record on an indoor rowing machine. On a Concept 2 Dynamic Rowing Machine Murray went 18,728 m in one hour.[14] The story was featured on Television New Zealand.[15]

On 17 January 2012 Murray raced five-time men's single scull world champion Mahé Drysdale in the single scull event at the North Island Club Championships and won by less than half a second. Drysdale and Murray were the only two scullers in the event due to inconsistent crosswinds.[16]

Murray (right) in 2010, with Hamish Bond
Murray (right) in 2010, with Hamish Bond

At the 2012 London Olympic Games Murray and teammate Hamish Bond took six seconds off the world record to 6:08.5 in their heat for the men's coxless pair. In the Olympic final Murray and Bond surged into the lead after the 500 meter mark to win the gold medal in 6:16.65 by open water. France edged Great Britain for the silver in 6:21.11 v. Great Britain's time of 6:21.77. The victory capped an undefeated streak that began when Murray and Bond began racing the pair internationally in 2009. After the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, in which Murray and Bond successfully defended their coxless pairs title, Murray underwent minor knee surgery and announced that he would not be available for international competitions in 2017, whilst Bond announced in November 2016 that he would take a break from rowing.[17]

In the 2013 New Year Honours, Murray was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to rowing.[18] In 2018 the International Rowing Federation awarded Murray and Bond the Thomas Keller Medal for their outstanding international rowing career. It is the sport's highest honor and is awarded within five years of the athlete's retirement, acknowledging an exceptional rowing career and exemplary sportsmanship.[19]

Murray was a contestant on the 2022 season of the dancing show Dancing with the Stars.[20]

Indoor rowing records

Event Result Date Source
5000m 14:56.4 16 November 2015 "Concept2 World Records – 5000m". 20 November 2015. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
6000m 18:16.8 25 February 2014 "Concept2 World Records – 6000m". 20 November 2015. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
10000m 31:05.2 23 December 2014 "Concept2 World Records – 10000m". 20 November 2015. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
21097m (Half Marathon) 1:07:58.1 22 December 2013 "Concept2 World Records – 21097m". 20 November 2015. Retrieved 20 November 2015.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "Eric Murray". Olympics at Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 17 April 2020. Retrieved 2 March 2016.
  2. ^ Stevenson 2016, p. 27.
  3. ^ Stevenson 2016, pp. 27–29.
  4. ^ Jillings, Kasia (21 March 2013). "Eric Murray & Gary Robertson: Our oarsome double". New Idea. Archived from the original on 24 October 2016. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  5. ^ Stevenson 2016, pp. 33f.
  6. ^ Stevenson 2016, p. 33.
  7. ^ Stevenson 2016, p. 36.
  8. ^ "1998 Maadi Results". New Zealand Secondary Schools Rowing Association. Retrieved 24 October 2016.
  9. ^ Stevenson 2016, p. 37.
  10. ^ "1999 Maadi Results". New Zealand Secondary Schools Rowing Association. Retrieved 24 October 2016.
  11. ^ Stevenson 2016, pp. 37, 55.
  12. ^ "2010 World Championship results". World Rowing. Retrieved 4 July 2016.
  13. ^ "Past winners". Halberg Awards. Retrieved 4 July 2016.
  14. ^ Hyde, Mitch (3 July 2012). "Just don't say gold". Waikato Times. Retrieved 29 July 2012.
  15. ^ "Rowers break record off the water". Television New Zealand. 22 December 2011. Archived from the original on 8 January 2012.((cite web)): CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  16. ^ John Rothery (14 January 2012). Eric Murray beats Mahe Drysdale in surprise win at North Island Club Champs at Karapiro. Karapiro: YouTube. Archived from the original on 15 December 2021.
  17. ^ "Rowing pair Hamish Bond and Eric Murray put golden partnership on hold". The New Zealand Herald. 18 November 2016. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  18. ^ "New Year honours list 2013". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 31 December 2012. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  19. ^ "Murray and Bond win 2018 Thomas Keller Medal" (Press release). Lausanne: International Rowing Federation. 29 June 2018. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
  20. ^ "Dancing With The Stars NZ: Full 2022 contestant line-up revealed". Newshub. 3 April 2022. Retrieved 22 May 2022.


Awards Preceded byCaroline & Georgina Evers-Swindell New Zealand's Team of the Year 200920122014 With: Hamish Bond Succeeded byAll Whites Preceded byAll Blacks Succeeded byAll Blacks Preceded byAll Blacks Succeeded byAll Blacks Preceded byAll Blacks Halberg Awards – Supreme Award 20122014 With: Hamish Bond Succeeded byLydia Ko Preceded byLydia Ko Succeeded byAll Blacks Preceded byValerie Adams Lonsdale Cup 2012 With: Hamish Bond Succeeded byValerie Adams