Parmigiani Spirit Award presented to Zurich university rower Franz Gravenhorst
German rower Franz Gravenhorst was presented with the second annual Parmigiani Spirit Award at a ceremony with representatives from FISA, the World Rowing Federation and Parmigiani Fleurier in Zurich today (Thursday).
As a doctorate student at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETHZ), rower Franz Gravenhorst has excelled at both academics and rowing. In addition he has donated countless hours to improving and developing the sport and encouraging university rowing in Zurich and around the world.
Gravenhorst will soon defend his dual doctorate thesis on the use of electrical sensors both to improve rowing technique and applied to improve health care for individuals suffering from mental disorders. Besides his extensive academic projects, Gravenhorst has also dedicated his time to coaching, organising and promoting the university rowing programme which has allowed hundreds of Zurich university students to participate in the sport. Inspired by the inclusiveness of the rowing community that he has found worldwide, Gravenhorst is keen to open this community to as many people as possible.
Today, Franz Gravenhorst was presented with a Parmigiani Fleurier "Tondo 1950" watch by Parmigiani CEO Jean-Marc Jacot at the Widder Hotel in Zurich, Switzerland. Gravenhorst's university rowing club will receive a custom-built top-of-the-range Filippi racing eight built in Italy.
Also present at the Award presentation were FISA President, Olympic gold medalist Jean-Christophe Rolland, and Olympian and World Champion Lenka Wech, who formed the Award judging panel along with Jacot and Mahe Drysdale, Olympic and World Champion single sculler. Members of Gravenhorst's family and representatives of the Swiss Rowing Federation, the Swiss University Sports Federation and the Zurich University Sports Federation and ETHZ were also present for the ceremony.
"We decided to create this award to celebrate a rower who has achieved something very special in his or her life. This award is very important to thank these young people who have worked so hard. Franz is a person who gives so much to the sport and at the same time is achieving so much for society and the health of society. He is a worthy winner of the second Parmigiani Spirit Award," said Jacot.
"We had many excellent and worthy candidates this year, it was quite difficult to choose. But the winner, Franz, demonstrated the core values of rowing and thus fits the criteria of the award perfectly," said Rolland. "The sport of rowing demands tremendous dedication, it is essential that we recognize these fantastic individuals who dedicate their lives not only to academics and to rowing, but also to helping others."
"Usually if I do something, I try to make it not about me. My first thought with this award is how it will be beneficial for the others, my whole team will benefit from it," said Gravenhorst. "I am not used to receiving awards, but it is a great honour for me."
The day concluded with a private celebration dinner for Gravenhorst, his family and Parmigiani and FISA representatives.
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.