Olympic bests on opening day - London 2012 - Rowing

There were Olympic best performances as the Rowing regatta began at Eton Dorney, with New Zealand's all-conquering men's Pair Hamish Bond and Eric Murray and Great Britain's Helen Glover and Heather Stanning confirming their status as gold medal favourite.

With a beneficial tail-wind, Bond and Murray set a new world's-best time of 6:08.50 as they qualified for Wednesday's semi-finals in commanding fashion.

Their time was almost six seconds quicker than the previous mark Matthew Pinsent and James Cracknell set at the 2002 World Championships in Seville, Spain.

'You don't really have a sense of how fast you are going down the course so we had no idea about the record until we saw the time,' Bond said. 'It's awesome.'

Meanwhile, in the women's Pair, Glover and Stanning won the opening heat of the Olympic regatta in a time of 6:57.29, beating the previous best by over four seconds.

They controlled the race from the outset, leading the field by half a length at the 500m time-check before pulling smoothly clear to beat the USA crew by a length.The defending Olympic champions Romania came a surprise third and will have to negotiate the repechage to reach Wednesday's final.

New Zealand's men's Double Scull of Nathan Cohen and Joseph Sullivan also set a new Olympic best in winning their heat after being pushed hard by Great Britain's Bill Lucas and Sam Townsend.

And Belgian Single Sculls ace Tim Maeyens did likewise, with another impressive performance.

Germany's dominant men's Eight crew beat Great Britain by half a length while USA returned to form with a heat victory, having only qualified for the Games at the last opportunity.

Belarus's 40-year-old single sculler Ekaterina Karsten proved she has overcome a rib injury by winning her heat as she targets a sixth Games medal.