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Last weekend I watched an outstanding documentary featuring Sir Peter Snell and Sir Murray Halberg looking back on their incredible performances during what has been termed the “Golden Hour” at the 1960 Rome Olympics – I thought at the time, how amazing it must have been to see those two brilliant athletes win gold for New Zealand.

Last night I was privileged to see and hear something even better – three brilliant athletes winning gold for their country.  As I drove home during the Double Skulls race, I was willing Eric Murray and Hamish Bond to win. Most seemed to think it was a foregone conclusion.  The race commentator ran out of superlatives trying to describe not only their winning record – unbeaten over the last four years, but also their progress on the water during the race. I had goosebumps listening to him assert that no-one could catch them – it seemed like tempting fate, but he could see what I couldn’t see …  When I arrived home just in time to catch the race replay on television,  I understood why the commentator was so confident. The pair’s  dominance was obvious and the Gold was theirs…how sweet it was.

Then came Mahe – the ultimate triumph – my husband and I were willing him to win with every stroke, but really his winning never seemed in doubt, and now the gold medal that should have been his in Beijing, is finally hanging around his neck… it was heart-stopping viewing – heart-rending and joyous all at the same time.  Seeing Mahe crawl out of the boat and then lying down on the pontoon, we were left in no doubt that he had given absolutely every ounce of his physical and emotional stores to get across that line – the mark of a true champion and the stuff of legends.  Mahe, you are a hero in my book!

The victor the spoils… Mahe wins gold.