New Zealand's rowing twins win 2016 Thomas Keller Medal
For immediate release
Lausanne, 20 May 2016
The Thomas Keller Medal for an Outstanding Career in Rowing, the sport's most prestigious award, will be awarded to Caroline and Georgina Evers-Swindell of New Zealand.
This is the first time that the award has gone to New Zealand and the first time since 1999 that it has been awarded to more than one person.
The Thomas Keller Medal recognises an outstanding career in rowing and the Evers-Swindell twins won the award ahead of this year's finalists that included Erin Cafaro (USA), Caryn Davies (USA), Thomas Ebert (DEN) and Greg Searle (GBR).
The identical twins both discovered rowing as teenagers; Caroline initially and then followed by sister Georgina. Both sisters showed talent almost instantly. Caroline first made the New Zealand national team as a junior in 1995 and Georgina in 1996.
By the age of 19 they were both on the senior national team and Caroline and Georgina soon started competing in the same boat, racing for two seasons in the women's eight. In 2000 they swapped into the women's double sculls. Although they missed out on qualifying for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, their adeptness at making a double go fast was obvious. The following year they raced at the World Rowing Championships in the double and the quadruple sculls and earned silver medals in both boat classes.
Caroline and Georgina's winning ways had truly begun. A year later they became World Champions for the first time in the double. The winning continued and the sisters gained a reputation for being unbeatable. Together they went on to become the only women's double to win back-to-back Olympic gold medals. These came in 2004 and 2008. Following the 2008 Olympics, the twins retired.
They still carry a legacy of being the inspiration for many New Zealanders to take up rowing and the growth of high school girls’ rowing can be in part attributed to them.
The Thomas Keller Medal will take place on Saturday, 28 May 2016 during the World Rowing Cup in Lucerne, Switzerland. The Evers-Swindell's will receive their medals from Dominik Keller, son of the FISA’s former President, the late Thomas Keller.
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 recognises 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. It was first awarded to the great Norwegian oarsman Alf Hansen in 1990. In 2015 the award went to Olympic Champion, Iztok Cop of Slovenia.