George Keys was one of the most durable rowers in recent New Zealand rowing history.
He was in the New Zealand world champion eights crews in 1982 and 1983 (the 1982 crew won the Sportsman of the Year award and was inducted into the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame in 1995) and narrowly missed an Olympic medal in Los Angeles in 1984, when the eight placed fourth, having won their heat.
He was a member – along with Greg Johnston, Ian Wright, Chris White and Andrew Bird - of the coxed four that won the Olympic bronze medal in Seoul in 1988. The New Zealanders finished third in their heat, third in the semi-final and in the final trailed East Germany and Romania, but comfortably held off Great Britain and the United States for third.
Keys made unsuccessful forays at world championships in Hazewinkel, Belgium, in 1985, and Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1987, in the New Zealand eight, and at Lake Barrington, Australia, in 1990, in the coxless pair with Chris White.
Representing the Avon club in Christchurch, Keys won a national coxless fours title in 1981, a coxless pairs title in 1984 and a single sculls title in 1985.
After his long rowing career, Keys did some coaching at St Margaret’s in Christchurch. He is married to Trudi, who was also a prominent rower and then a coach. Keys has had a variety of jobs, ranging from postie to courier.