Ginn wins Thomas Keller rowing medal4 July 2014
ROWING: Australia's most successful Olympic rower Drew Ginn has received world rowing's highest honour.
World Rowing on Friday announced the three-time Olympic gold medallist as the recipient of the 2014 Thomas Keller Medal.
The award is the most prestigious in rowing, in recognition of an exceptional international career, the 'type' of career, technical mastery of the sport, sportsmanship and the 'legendary' aspect of the athlete.
Ginn was chosen by the Thomas Keller Medal committee following an extensive worldwide public nominations process.
The now Australian rowing team head coach - integration was nominated with Slovenia's Iztok Cop, New Zealand sisters Caroline and Georgina Evers-Swindell and Britain's Katherine Grainger.
Ginn said he was extremely honoured to be selected.
"I consider myself privileged to join a group of individuals who have excelled in our sport, including three of my former Australian teammates, Peter Antonie, Mike McKay and James Tomkins (2010 Keller winner).
"I am grateful for the honour being bestowed upon me."
Ginn shot to fame as part of Australia's men's coxless four when they won gold at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. He went on to medal at various world championships in the men's eight, coxed four, coxless four and men's pair.
At the 1999 world titles, Ginn and Tomkins became pair champions, setting themselves up as favourites for the 2000 Olympics. A back injury forced Ginn out at the eleventh hour.
With Ginn's tenacity and perseverance, he was back in form two years later and, in 2003, was again a world champion before winning Olympic gold in Athens.
Ginn and new partner Duncan Free won the 2006 and 2007 world championships. Leading up to the 2008 Olympics, Ginn again suffered back problems but he went on to win another Olympic title.
A back operation and a break followed Beijing, with Ginn claiming silver in the men's four at the London Olympics.
Ginn is in Italy with the Australian rowing team in his new role.
Former coach and Rowing Australia national performance director Chris O'Brien said he was delighted to see Ginn's achievements recognised.
"Drew is passionate about mentoring and helping athletes to reach their potential and this accolade is a fitting reward to not only all his on-water achievements but his continued dedication to the sport of rowing."
Rowing Australia CEO Andrew Dee said: "It is only fitting that Australia's most successful rowing Olympian should join some of the greatest names in world rowing in becoming a recipient of such a prestigious and highly regarded award."