New Zealand: Eric Murray
New Zealand's Eric Murray in action at the 2008 Olympics.
Place of birth: Hastings, New Zealand
Event: Rowing, Men's Pair
Previous Olympics: 2
Previous medals: 0
Eric Murray was all prepared to retire from the sport of rowing after finishing a disappointing seventh at the 2008 Olympics in the men's coxless four.
It was the second time he had missed out on a medal at the Games, having also finished fifth at Athens 2004 as part of the New Zealand quartet.
His Beijing heartache four years later was made that bit harder to swallow as the Kiwis had won the world title in 2007 in Munich and looked a good bet for a podium finish at the Olympics.
After the Games, Murray contemplated his future but was talked into continuing by Hamish Bond, who was part of the coxless four crew in China.
Murray gave in to the Dunedin rower - who is four years his junior - and agreed to form a pair with Bond. The rest, as they say, is history and the duo have gone on to form one of the most successful combinations in the modern era.
As soon as Bond and Murray took to the pair in 2009 they started recording super fast times and have remained undefeated ever since, winning gold medals at the 2009, 2010 and 2011 World Championships.
Rightly named male crew of the year at the annual World Rowing awards in 2011, the Kiwi pair have looked primed to put their 2008 woes behind them to claim gold at London 2012 as Murray looks to make it third time lucky at the Games.
Coached by 2010 world coach of the year Dick Tonks, the duo have constantly worked at going faster, with Bond bringing his technical ability in the stroke seat and Murray adding his brute force and power in the bow.
"We are always working to become better at what we do and find better ways to make our boat faster," said 30-year-old Murray.
"Our combination is brilliant and the dynamic between Hamish and me is one which we both push each other and constantly look for perfection and also compete against one another to be the best."
While host nation Great Britain are tipped to steal the show at Eton Dorney after topping the medal table at the 2011 World Championships, the Kiwis are unlikely to be far behind.
Rowing is a sport in which New Zealand enjoy great success on the global stage and Murray believes the reason is simple.
"No question - traditional hard work," he said. "We are a pretty competitive country and we always like our athletes to do well.
"I think because we only have four million people, we want to show that our little speck on this earth can produce things that are the best in the world in sports and in other areas.
"We are definitely very good at that."