Most successful Danish sportsman awarded Thomas Keller Medal
12/07/2013 - 12:14:00
FISA, the International Rowing Federation, is delighted to announce that rowing's highest distinction, the Thomas Keller Medal, will this year be awarded to Denmark's most successful Danish sportsman ever - Eskild Ebbesen.
The 18-carat gold medal will be awarded on Saturday 13 July, at the "Lucerne Rowing Night", a regatta gala dinner held during the 2013 Samsung World Rowing Cup III in Lucerne, Switzerland.
Ebbesen made his first appearance on the senior international rowing scene in 1992 at the World Rowing Championships in Montreal, Canada. Twenty years later, aged 40, he rowed his last race at the London 2012 Olympic Rowing Regatta, winning bronze. Throughout his career, he competed at five Olympic Games and 12 World Rowing Championships. With his five Olympic medals (three golds and two bronzes) and his nine World Championship medals (six golds and three silvers), Ebbesen became Denmark's most successful sportsman ever.
A lightweight athlete, Ebbesen competed at the first Olympic Games featuring lightweight rowing on the programme - Atlanta 1996. Together with a series of remarkable Danish rowers and coaches, Ebbesen changed the status of lightweight rowing, both in terms of speed and competitiveness. In July of 1999, on the Rotsee in Lucerne, Switzerland, Eskild's crew set a World Best Time of 5:45.60 in the lightweight men's four that then bettered the open-weight mark for the same event. This time has remained unbeaten until this day.
The lightweight men's four was Ebbesen's signature event, and stroke seat was his preferred position in the boat. Racing with different teammates over two decades, Ebbesen was the one constant figure in the boat that came to be known as Denmark's "Golden Four".
Looked up to as a leader in his crew, he was also admired by his competition. Ebbesen's belief was that through repeated practice, focus and attention, he could turn his hand to anything. With a Masters in Human Physiology from the University of Copenhagen Ebbesen has shared his studies in sports science to help others understand how to improve themselves.
Eskild Ebbesen will be present in Lucerne, Switzerland, on Saturday evening 13 July to receive the Thomas Keller Medal from Dominik Keller, son of the late Thomas Keller, FISA's former President.
To view the list of previous Thomas Keller Medal winners, please click here.
About the Thomas Keller Medal
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 award was named after the late President of FISA, Thomas Keller (Thomi). Born in 1924, Keller was elected President of FISA in 1958, at the age of 34 and was then the youngest-ever president of an international sports federation.
Following the 1988 Olympics, Thomi Keller spontaneously awarded the FISA Medal of Honour to Peter-Michael Kolbe and Pertti Karppinen to commemorate one of the greatest rivalries in the history of the sport and recognising their exceptional talent and sportsmanship. This shaped the idea of the Thomas Keller Medal which was initiated by the Keller family following Thomi's passing in 1989 and was first awarded to the great Norwegian oarsman Alf Hansen in 1990.
Each year, the winner is carefully selected by the Thomas Keller Medal committee, after a broad international nomination process, to ensure that the true values in which Thomi so strongly believed are represented in this award.