The nominees for the sport of rowing’s most prestigious medal, the Thomas Keller Medal, have been narrowed down to six finalists, the World Rowing Federation, FISA, writes in a press release, below published with some edits by HTBS:
Created in 1990 and named after Thomas Keller, FISA’s former president, the Thomas Keller Medal celebrates athletes who have had an outstanding career in rowing. The award honours those who have shown exemplary sportsmanship and technical mastery of the sport as well as having shown a legendary aspect both in and outside of their rowing career.
Out of the six finalists, Great Britain has four nominees and the United States has two nominees, showing the domination of these two great rowing nations. For the first time a para-rower, Tom Aggar (GBR), has reached the final for this award.
The finalists are in alphabetical order:
Tom Aggar (Great Britain)
Tom Aggar is a legend of para-rowing. Aggar first raced internationally in 2007 and instantly found success, beginning a winning streak that lasted for the next four years. This included him winning gold in the para men’s single sculls at the 2008 Paralympic Games, which was the debut Games for para-rowing. Aggar continued through to the London 2012 Paralympic Games, where he missed out on a medal. He persisted and came back to take bronze at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
Caryn Davies (United States)
Caryn Davies is described as the epitome of the scholar-athlete. Having earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Harvard University in 2005 and a Doctor of Law degree from Columbia University in 2013, Davies was twice Olympic Champion and a four-time World Champion between 2002 and 2012. She has stroked the U.S. women’s eight repeatedly since its winning streak began in 2006 and helped the boat set two World Best Times. Davies then went on to do an MBA at Oxford University, during which time she stroked the university boat to victory in the 2015 Women’s Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race.
Katherine Grainger (Great Britain)
Katherine Grainger is Great Britain’s most decorated female Olympian with five Olympic medals including gold from the London 2012 Olympic Games. These medals show Grainger’s all-round brilliance and longevity in the sport having won Olympic medals in the women’s quadruple sculls, coxless pair and double sculls. Grainger also has won eight medals at the World Rowing Championships. Off the water, she has achieved a Ph.D. in law. On January 2017, for her services to rowing, but also for her charitable work and her wider sports related activities, Grainger was made a Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II.
Eleanor Logan (United States)
Eleanor Logan became the United States’ greatest Olympic women’s rower after winning her third consecutive Olympic gold at the Rio 2016 Olympics. These medals all came from being part of the formidable U.S. eight. Logan has also competed in other boats including the single, coxless pair and coxless four at World Championship level.
Greg Searle (Great Britain)
Between 1990 and 2000 Greg Searle raced at three Olympic Games and at seven World Rowing Championships. During this time, he won Olympic gold in 1992 and Olympic silver in 1996 as well as five World Championship medals in a variety of sweep boat classes, from the eight to the four to the coxed pair, as well as in one sculling event, the men’s single sculls. Following a fourth-place finish in the coxless pair at the Sydney Games, Searle retired from the sport for nine years, only to come back and compete at the highest level of competition in his late 30s. He finished his rowing career by taking a bronze at the London 2012 Olympic Games, 20 years after competing at his first Olympic Games in 1992.
Andrew T Hodge (Great Britain)
A three-time Olympic Champion, Andrew Hodge has been a mainstay among Great Britain’s elite squad for 15 years. This was despite a bout of illness that saw Hodge having to fight to get back into his country’s top boats in 2016. He managed to swap successfully between the eight, four, and coxless pair during his career, which ended with gold in the eight at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
The winner will be announced on 29 June and awarded at the 2017 World Rowing Cup III in Lucerne, Switzerland, on Saturday evening, 8 July. During the award ceremony, an 18-carat gold medal will be bestowed to the winner by Dominik Keller, the son of the late Thomas Keller.