In a press release from yesterday, FISA, Worldrowing.com, announced this year’s finalists for the Thomas Keller Medal.
The most prestigious medal awarded in rowing, the Thomas Keller Medal, has been narrowed down to six finalists by the World Rowing Federation, FISA.
Following public nominations, the finalists for the 2018 Thomas Keller Medal are (in alphabetical order):
Jeremie Azou (France)
Hamish Bond & Eric Murray (New Zealand)
Kim Brennan (Australia)
Caryn Davies (United States)
Heather Stanning (Great Britain)
Andrew Triggs-Hodge (Great Britain)
Created in 1990, the Thomas Keller Medal celebrates athletes who have had an outstanding career in rowing. It 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.
Jeremie Azou – France
In Jeremie Azou France found a new hero. The two-time World Champion and 2016 Olympic Champion started rowing at a young age and made the French national team as a junior. Already as a 19-year-old he made the senior team and was winning medals right from the beginning. In 2012 at the London Olympics, Azou finished fourth in the lightweight men’s double sculls. He must have used this as inspiration, as from 2013 to 2017 Azou was part of the lightweight men’s double sculls that dominated this boat class. Azou set two World Best Times during his career and was four-time European Champion.
Hamish Bond & Eric Murray – New Zealand
It is hard to get to the top. It’s even harder to stay there. Bond and Murray achieved what seemed impossible. These two very different athletes became tied together when they united in the men’s pair in 2009. They then began an unprecedented 69-race winning streak. This streak included two Olympic Gold medals (2012 and 2016) and eight World Championships titles. They also claimed World Best Times in two boat classes, the men’s pair and men’s coxed pair. These times still stand today. The duo raced together at the 2008 Olympics in the men’s four and a seventh-place finish left them disappointed but brought them back on the road to pairs success.
Kim Brennan – Australia
This three-time Olympian finished her rowing career at the top by winning the women’s single sculls at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Prior to this Brennan (nee Crow) had seen success in both the women’s eight and women’s pair. But it is the London 2012 Olympic Games that really set Brennan apart. She was the only rower to medal in two boat classes – bronze in the women’s single and silver in the double sculls.
Caryn Davies – United States
Caryn Davies can be described as a self-made athlete. At the age of 16, she decided that she wanted to row on the U.S. national team and began her journey to get there. Not only did Davies make the team, but she made the legendary U.S. women’s eight. While working towards several university degrees including a Doctor of Law from Columbia University, Davies became an Olympic Champion twice and a four-time World Champion between 2002 and 2012. She has stroked the USA 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, Great Britain and during that time she stroked the women’s Oxford boat to victory in the 2015 Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race.
Heather Stanning – Great Britain
Heather Stanning began rowing when she was identified by the GB Rowing Team Start Programme. Her international rowing career got off to a great start when she won gold at the 2007 World Rowing Under-23 Championships. This began a desire to push for more success. And the success came. Now a two-time Olympic gold medallist, Stanning dominated the women’s pair with partner Helen Glover from 2011 to 2016. During that time, Stanning recorded an unbeaten run of 39 races in the pair which included two World Championship titles and Olympic gold in 2012 and 2016. The duo also set a World Best Time in 2014.
Andrew Triggs-Hodge – Great Britain
A three-time Olympic Champion, Andrew Triggs-Hodge was a mainstay among Great Britain’s elite squad for 15 years. This was despite a bout of illness in 2015 that saw Triggs-Hodge having to fight to get back into his country’s top boats. He managed to swap successfully between the men’s eight, four and pair during his career winning Olympic gold in the four in 2008 and 2012 and ending with gold in the men’s eight at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
The winner will be announced on 29 June 2018 and awarded at the 2018 World Rowing Cup III in Lucerne, Switzerland, on 14 July 2018. During the award ceremony, an 18-carat gold medal will be bestowed by Dominik Keller, the son of FISA’s former president Thomas Keller, to the winner.
For a full list of winners, please click here.