Norway's Nils Jakob Hoff has been crowned the winner of the Filippi Spirit Award ©FISA

Norwegian Olympic rower Nils Jakob Hoff, a medical student at the University of Bergen, has won World Rowing’s 2016 Filippi Spirit Award.

The prize is aimed at university rowers who have demonstrated the core values of rowing in his or her social, academic and sporting life. 

Formerly known as the Parmigiani Spirit Award, Filippi Boats became the main sponsor in 2016.

This marks the fourth year of the award that looks to honour an individual who, through the core values of rowing, has "inspired exceptional success in other people's lives in education, business, sport or charity".

Hoff started rowing as a 14-year-old and 14 years later became a World Champion in the men’s double sculls.

He is famous for striking a Viking pose after crossing the finish line at the 2013 World Rowing Championships. 

Disappointed to find the University of Bergen in Norway was without a rowing club, Hoff and a fellow student founded the Medical Rowing Club in Bergen with the goal of sharing the values of rowing with their fellow students. 

The club now has more than 60 active rowers, with more than half of them being women. 

Nils Jakob Hoff represented Norway at London 2012 and Rio 2016 ©Getty Images
Nils Jakob Hoff represented Norway at London 2012 and Rio 2016 ©Getty Images

As he continued through his university studies, Hoff made two Olympic rowing teams.

Alongside Kjetil Borch, he was eliminated in the semi-finals of the men's double sculls at London 2012.

Then at Rio 2016, he went out at the semi-final stage again, but this time in the single sculls.

“We had an extremely difficult time this year to pick the Filippi Spirit Award winner,” said the World Rowing Federation (FISA) President Jean-Christophe Rolland.

“The standard and quality of the nominated candidates had the judges strongly debating who would win.

"Nils just had that something extra.

"His story on and off the water is exceptional and inspiring.”

The Filippi Spirit Award is open to current university students worldwide who study full time and row regularly for a university rowing club.

The winner of the award will be presented with a custom-made new Filippi racing eight boat for their rowing club.