Mahe Drysdale and Hamish Bond have been named in a squad of 14 New Zealand men to contest sweep oar spots across the international rowing season.
The squad will train alongside each other at Lake Karapiro through the coming months, with the final eight being confirmed prior to the team's departure to Europe in mid-June.
Members of the squad will also make up the coxless four for the season, with two to drop out for the world championships.
The inspiration for both rowers is the chance to emulate the 1972 men's eight that claimed Olympic gold in Montreal.
Drysdale, the two-time Olympic champion in the single sculls, had been battling Robbie Manson for the singles spot over the summer but said his focus is on the eight.
"Very much the goal now is to make the eight go. If we can make the eight go then that will be the boat that I will compete in at Tokyo. It's quite a shift but I guess what sold it to me is just that allure to repeat the feats of what they did in '72 and if we could get close to that then that would certainly be worth stepping away from the single for."
"It's tough more that I don't feel like I've got as far as I could go in the single. You're sort of walking away from unfinished business but they dream is to make the eight go…that's what sold it to me and if we were going to do it, all of us had to be all-in."
"I'm a natural five-seat. Sit in the middle and create some rhythm and just backing up the guys in front of you who are the real rhythm men. Adding a bit of power to it too. Still the biggest erg in this boat. Some of the guys are coming. That's the goal to add a bit of power and the other guys can add some rhythm and finesse as well."
Drysdale said Bond, a double Olympic champion with Eric Murray in the men's pair, was playing a little catch-up after time away from rowing to focus on cycling but looks set for a key role.
"Long term I see him stroking the boat. He was the best stroke in the world when he finished in Rio and very very successful in that seat. That's the logical place for him but he's got a bit of work to do like myself to get up to speed and remembering how to sweep," Drysdale said
"Coming through the ranks of rowing I always admired the feats of the 1972 eight," Drysdale said.
"One of my early coaches was Tony Hurt who stroked that boat and showed us his medal. That has always stuck with me. The eight is a very different boat to the single - there are a lot more moving parts and inherent risk, but the dream is certainly worth a shot.
"We have a great bunch of keen, young men and I am looking forward to working with them and teaming up with Bondy for the first time. We have a team capable of success, now we just have to go and do it.''
After two years pursuing cycling, with a time trial bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in 2018 and more recently a national record in the individual pursuit, Bond re-joined Rowing New Zealand's summer squad last month.
"I took that time after the national cycling track champs to basically if this was my last opportunity in sport what would I like to achieve. Ultimately decided that the eight is the holy grail. If we can get success in the eight for New Zealand that does something that we haven't achieved in the last 50 years in the sport. Certainly this last run of success it's probably been the glaring omission from the palmares of what we've achieved.
"It's something we talked about, Eric, Mahe…all of us. Something we always wanted to do but it with the timing we had our own individual targets and the timing just wasn't there. Although we've left it late with not much time to get it all together, on the flip side of that there's really good momentum and enthusiasm behind it."
The men's eight finished ninth out of nine boats at last year's world championships and will be a top five finish this year to automatically qualify for Tokyo next year.
The 51-strong overall team will remain home to train before departing overseas to contest World Cups in Poznan, Poland in June and Rotterdam, Netherlands in July.
Confirmation of the world championships team will be announced after the Rotterdam event.