3 November 2017
In a press release, the World Rowing Federation, FISA, announced that the organisation has opened the nomination process for the 2018 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 4 December 2017 (midday 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 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, (West-) 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 Keller’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. 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:
1. Success at the international level
2. ‘Type’ of career
3. Technical mastery of the sport
5. ‘Legendary’ aspect
For 2017, the Thomas Keller Medal was awarded to Katherine Grainger, Great Britain, who is Great Britain’s most decorated female Olympian with five Olympic medals in four boat classes. These medals showed her all-round brilliance in the sport and included gold from the London 2012 Olympic Games. Grainger who, gained a Ph.D. in law while rowing, also earned eight medals from the World Championships.
Previous winners include Caroline and Georgina Evers-Swindell, New Zealand, Eskild Ebbesen, Denmark, Vaclav Chalupa, Czech Republic, Iztok Cop, Slovenia, James Tomkins, Australia, Kathrin Boron, Germany, Elisabeta Lipa, Romania, and Steve Redgrave Great Britain.
To nominate and to view the full list of winners, please click here.
The award will be presented on Saturday 14 July 2018 during World Rowing Cup III in Lucerne, Switzerland.