Zurich Technical Institute Rower Wins the Parmigiani Spirit Award
Rower Franz Gravenhorst, a PhD student at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETHZ) wins the second annual Parmigiani Spirit Award.
The 29 year old from Karlsruhe, Germany is currently completing a PhD in electrical engineering at ETH in Zurich, Switzerland. Gravenhorst has been a rower since he was 15 years old and has competed at every level from club, to university, to the German national team.
The 2014 Parmigiani Spirit Award was open to university rowers worldwide who demonstrate 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.
Through university rowing Gravenhorst has taken an active part in the organisational side of rowing. He is responsible for weekly rowing courses and instructs at the Zurich Universities Sports Association as well as organising an annual rowing camp which is open to all students in Zurich.
In addition to his dedication and determination in the sport, Gravenhorst is working diligently toward a PhD in two projects. One project has the goal to improve the healthcare situation for people with mental illness by developing monitoring technology. The other project addresses the development of measurement tools for rowing technique, using wireless sensors, to track the angles of the rowing oar in combination with the movement of the rower.
Known for making friends world-wide and his ingrained sense of fairness, Gravenhorst says that some of his deepest friendships have evolved out of the sport.
"Franz Gravenhorst is an inspirational university athlete who has dedicated his time to a field of study that will benefit both society and sport. His success as an athlete, a friend and a mentor are indications of his incredible determination and focus. He is a role model in our sport and a very worthy winner of the second Parmigiani Spirit Award," says FISA President Jean-Christophe Rolland.
Rowing friend David Albrect describes Gravenhorst, "For Franz, having skills or knowledge always comes with an obligation to share this knowledge with others and let them benefit from it. Also, he regularly supports rowing beginners to improve their rowing experience by coaching them and also sometimes rowing with them."
Gravenhorst will receive a hand-crafted Parmigiani Fleurier watch at the presentation ceremony in Zurich on 4 December. His club will be presented with a custom-built top-of-the-range Filippi eight racing shell to be named "Parmigiani Spirit 2014". This is the second year of the Parmigiani Spirit Award, which was presented to James Cook (GBR) in 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.