New Zealand pair wins gold medal

WINDSOR, England -- Hamish Bond and Eric Murray of New Zealand maintained their three-year unbeaten run by winning gold Friday in the men's pair at the Olympic rowing regatta.

Bond and Murray, one of the most dominant crews in world rowing, won in 6 minutes, 16.65 seconds. France was two lengths behind to take silver and Britain won bronze despite veering out of its lane in the final stretch of the race.

Although the British boat of George Nash and William Satch is now in danger of disqualification, it did not impede another boat so a complaint is unlikely.

The Kiwi pair haven't lost a race since joining forces after the 2008 Beijing Games, where they were part of a quadruple sculls boat that failed to reach the final despite being gold-medal favorites.

It was New Zealand's second gold of the regatta. Nathan Cohen and Joseph Sullivan won the men's double sculls.

Murray and Bond were the quickest qualifiers from the heats by nine seconds -- beating the world-best time in the process -- and then blew away their rivals in the semifinals by nearly seven seconds.

Setting off from the outside lane following a reallocation because of strong winds, the New Zealanders found themselves in the unusual position of second in the first 500 meters after France's Germain Chardin and Dorian Mortelette went out hard.

But Murray and Bond accelerated past the French by the 750-meter mark and were at least three lengths ahead by 1,500 meters.

Britain pushed hard to catch France, and accidentally went into the slipstream of New Zealand, but missed out on a silver medal by 0.66 seconds.