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. Ekaterina Karsten of Belarus has been to seven Olympic Games and in 2018, at the age of 46, said she’s aiming for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
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 at the end of the international rowing season and World Champions are crowned in 14 Olympic boat classes – seven for men and seven for women and six International boat classes all for lightweight rowers. Para-rowers compete in nine boat classes, four are Paralympic boat classes. During an Olympic and Paralympic 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.