Becoming an elite rower takes years of hard training and it is usually the athletes with longer experience who achieve the best results. Rowing's most successful Olympic medallist, Sir Steve Redgrave (GBR), obtained his fifth Olympic gold medal at 38 years of age.
An elite rower can start competing as a junior (18 years of age and under) at national and international championships. To become a junior World Champion, a junior rower must win a gold medal in his/her boat class at the World Rowing Junior Championships.
The next step is the World Rowing Under 23 Championships which acts as a stepping stone to the senior elite ranks.
The senior World Rowing Championships are held every year and World Champions are crowned in 12 men's boat classes and nine women's boat classes. These include Olympic and International boat classes. During an Olympic year the World Rowing Championships include only International boat classes.
The ultimate goal of an elite rower is to become an Olympic Champion. The Olympic Regatta is held every four years during the Olympic Games.