The 21 year old mechanical engineering student, in his final year at University College London (UCL), is the men’s captain of the University of London Boat Club (ULBC). On the water, he was a member of the Great Britain eight that won silver at the 2012 World University Rowing Championships in Kazan, Russia.


The Parmigiani Spirit Award was open to university rowers worldwide who demonstrated the core values of rowing in his/her social, academic and sporting life and, through those values, also enabled or inspired exceptional success in other people’s lives – for example in education, business, sports or charity. Rowing’s core values are: Teamwork, Fairness, Natural, Inclusive and Enduring.

In addition to dedicating many hours to coaching work with young rowers at ULBC while training himself for the international level, Cook has also organised a number of charity events. In 2011, he rowed 1000km down the Zambesi River as part of the Row Zambesi Expedition which raised over $40,000 for Village Water, a charity that helps small communities in Africa to develop the infrastructure to provide clean, fresh water supplies for their homes.

During the expedition, Cook taught Zambian students from the University of Lusaka how to row and is now working towards creating a sculling camp on Lake Kariba in the summer of 2014.

“James Cook is an outstanding role model to all university students and for our sport,” said FISA President Denis Oswald. “He is a successful rower, a leader and a magnificent team-player who has given so much to charity and to others. He is an inspiration to all and a worthy winner of the first Parmigiani Spirit Award.”

The panel of judges comprised New Zealand’s Olympic single sculls champion Mahé Drysdale, Parmigiani Fleurier CEO Jean-Marc Jacot and FISA President Denis Oswald.

Twenty-five nominations from 12 countries were received for the Award and the six shortlisted candidates were from Australia, China, Great Britain and South Africa.

Cook will receive a hand-crafted Parmigiani Fleurier watch at the presentation ceremony in London on 31 October. His club, ULBC, will be presented with a custom-built top-of-the-range Filippi eight racing shell to be named “Parmigiani Spirit 2013”.

Parmigiani Fleurier is a Swiss watchmaker of unique, hand-crafted timepieces. A common philosophy lies at the basis of the partnership between World Rowing and Parmigiani Fleurier which was forged in 2012. Precision, coordination and elegance are similar qualities that are needed both in the sport of rowing and in the craftsmanship of each unique Parmigiani timepiece.

Parmigiani Spirit Awards