For immediate release
Lausanne 30 April 2015

The final element of the 2014 Parmigiani Spirit Award was celebrated with the christening of a new Filippi eight racing shell at the Belvoir Rowing Club in Zurich, Switzerland on Tuesday, 28 April 2015. The boat was awarded to Franz Gravenhorst, the second recipient of World Rowing’s prestigious Parmigiani Spirit Award.

A student at the Zurich Technological Institute until 2014, Gravenhorst has inspired and taught hundreds of university students to row while doing his PhD work to help people with disabilities. His exceptional achievements both on and off the water made Gravenhorst the recipient of a new “Tonda 1950” Parmigiani Fleurier watch.

The second element of the award is the donation by Parmigiani of a new Filiipi racing eight to go to Gravenhorst's university club. This recognises that behind every rower is an entire team. The new top-of-the-line the line racing shell will inspire many more university students to try rowing and will be stored at the Belvoir Rowing Club, home to many university rowers in Zurich. The boat comes at an ideal time, as more and more students are being attracted to rowing and more boats are needed.

“This is a great day for our club and for Swiss university rowing,” said Camille Codoni, coach at the Belvoir Rowing Club. “Every year we teach many Zurich university students to row. We can very quickly make use of this boat. It will not only motivate the students, but it will also mean less boat sharing and allow us to recruit more people to the sport.”

“Until now, my institute did not have its own boat, we used the boats of the Belvoir club” said Gravenhorst. “Now, more students will be able to train, have better preparation and achieve better results.”

The Filippi eight was custom built to be as versatile as possible for the club, allowing as many different groups of rowers as possible to row comfortably in it.

“I expect the rowers to be a bit nervous their first time in the boat,” said Codoni. “But I expect them to be very motivated. It’s an acknowledgement and a reward to row in it.”

The ceremony at Belvoir included a champagne christening of the boat, speeches from Parmigiani Fleurier COO Marc Gaudrault and FISA President Jean-Christophe Rolland, followed by the baptismal outing by the Swiss University Rowing women’s eight in the “Parmigiani Spirit 2014”. 

The dual ceremony also celebrated the victorious Swiss University Rowing team for their medal success at the 2014 European University Games in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The Swiss rowing team picked up eight medals, making them the most medalled rowing team at the Games. To recognise their success, winners were presented with an honorary pin by Andreas Csonka, President of the Swiss University Sports Federation (SUSF). Representatives from FISA, the World Rowing Federation, Parmigiani Fleurier, Zurich University Sports Association, Swiss University Sports Federation and the Belvoir Rowing Club attended the event.

World Champion Emma Twigg from New Zealand also attended the ceremony. Twigg is currently taking a break from international competition to complete a masters programme in Sport Management.

“I am doing a FIFA Master at the moment. It’s great that university rowers can experience training outside class and all the challenges that it brings. It’s important to be educated and to know that sport is not your only focus. There are a lot of examples of that in the world of rowing,” said Twigg.

The nomination process for the 2015 Parmigiani Spirit Award is now open. Nominations close 22 June 2015 and can be found here: http://www.worldrowing.com/athletes/parmigiani-spirit-award

A video from the event is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRWVsR8wAx4

Photos of the boat christening are available here: http://www.worldrowing.com/photos-videos/galleries/2014-parmigiani-spirit-award-boat-christening-zurich-switzerland#gallery-1

Please contact jillian.omara@fisa.org if you would like to receive photos from the event.