World Rowing Calls for Nominations for the 2016 Thomas Keller Medal

Thomi Keller
Thomas ‘Thomi’ Keller. Photo: World Rowing.

5 February 2016

In a press release the World Rowing Federation, FISA, announces that it has opened the nomination process for the 2016 Thomas Keller Medal to the general public.

The Thomas Keller Medal is the highest distinction in the sport of rowing. It is awarded to recognise an exceptional international rowing career as well as exemplary sportsmanship and legendary aspect. The public is able to submit nominations until 15 February 2016 (midnight CET).

The award was named after the late President of FISA, Thomas ‘Thomi’ Keller. Born in 1924, Keller was elected President of FISA in 1958 as a 34-year-old. He was still training as a rower and was then the youngest-ever president of an international sports federation.

Following the 1988 Olympic Games, Thomi Keller spontaneously awarded the FISA Medal of Honour to single scullers Peter-Michael Kolbe (Germany) and Pertti Karppinen (Finland) to commemorate one of the greatest rivalries in the history of the sport, thereby recognising their exceptional talent and sportsmanship. This shaped the idea of the Thomas Keller Medal, which was initiated by the Keller family following Thomi’s passing in 1989 and was first awarded to the great Norwegian rower Alf Hansen in 1990.

Each year the winner is carefully selected by the Thomas Keller Medal committee, which includes Keller’s son Dominik, and it follows a broad international nomination process including public nominations. The aim is to ensure that the true values in which Keller so strongly believed are represented. To be awarded the Thomas Keller Medal the following five factors are taken into consideration:

Success at the international level

‘Type’ of career

Technical mastery of the sport


‘Legendary’ aspect

In 2015, Iztok Cop of Slovenia was awarded the Thomas Keller Medal.
Iztok Cop, of Slovenia, the 2015 winner of the Thomas Keller Medal. Photo: World Rowing.

In 2015, Iztok Cop of Slovenia was awarded the Thomas Keller Medal. Cop is a sporting legend with a career that covered more than two decades and included six Olympic Games and 16 World Rowing Championships. At the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games, Cop became the first Olympic medallist for the newly-independent Slovenia. His medal was in the pair. Cop then went on to be successful in the single sculls and double sculls. He has been described as the glue among his fellow athletes and has formed friendships with his competitors and always respected his opponents.

Previous winners of the Thomas Keller Medal include: Drew Ginn (Australia), Eskild Ebbesen (Denmark), Vaclav Chalupa (Czech Republic), Jüri Jaanson (Estonia), James Tomkins (Australia), Kathrin Boron (Germany), Elisabeta Lipa (Romania) and Steve Redgrave (Great Britain).

To read the background of the medal and see the full list of winners, please click here.

To submit your nomination, click here.

The award will be presented on Saturday, 28 May 2016, at the World Rowing Cup in Lucerne, Switzerland.

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