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 Olympic Games, 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, thereby 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 rower 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.

To be awarded the Thomas Keller Medal, the following five factors are taken into consideration:

Name

1. Success at the international level
2. "Type" of career
3. Technical mastery of the sport
4. Sportsmanship
5. "Legendary" aspect

In 2012, the Czech Republic's Vaclav Chalupa was awarded the distinction. Chalupa made competitive rowing his life. A veteran of five Olympic Games, Chalupa spent the majority of his 20-year rowing career racing in the men's single sculls. His Olympic silver medal, won at the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games, his five World Championship silver medals (from 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993 and 2009), and three World Championship bronze medals (from 1995, 1998 and 2001) drove him to continually strive for the elusive gold. He would strive for over two decades and during that time became known for his modesty, selflessness and enthusiasm for the sport. 

Previous winners include Jueri Jaanson (Estonia), James Tomkins (Australia), Kathrin Boron (Germany), Elisabeta Lipa (Romania), Steve Redgrave (Great Britain), Marnie McBean (Canada), among others. To view the full list of winners, please click here.
The award will be presented this year on Sunday 14 July, at the 2013 Samsung World Rowing Cup in Lucerne, Switzerland.

Please submit your nomination for this year's Thomas Keller Medal to FISA by midnight CET on Friday 22 February 2013.