Road to Paris

Timon Wernas Articles

Nothing in the career of a rower is more important than the Olympic Games. But only a few get the chance to participate. The next Games are fast approaching, and the race for the limited starting spots has already begun.

For many, the dream of participating in the Olympics remains just that, a dream. Even fewer, manage to win a medal. And those who manage to win multiple Olympic medals crown themselves as the absolute superstars of the sport.

From July 27th to August 3rd, 2024, the rowing competitions will take place at the Olympic Games in Paris. Just under four weeks later, on August 30th, 2024, the rowing regatta will begin at the Paralympic Games. The race to qualify for a start in Paris has begun. Because this year, at the World Championships in Belgrade, Serbia, most of the starting spots will be allocated.

In total, 502 athletes in 14 boat classes will compete for rowing medals at the Olympic Games, and 104 athletes in five boat classes will compete at the Paralympic Games. After Tokyo 2021, it is the second time, that there are exactly the same number of women and men. But how exactly can one qualify for the Games? For each boat class and gender, there are limited number of boats who are allowed to start.

To qualify for the Games, athletes have the following options:

  1. The World Championships in Belgrade, Serbia, from September 3rd to 10th, 2023

During the World Championships, 114 rowing boats and 50 para-rowing will earn their spots. This promises not only exciting races for medals at the top of the field but also a fierce battle at the other end of the field, when crews will be racing for the all-important tickets to Paris. At the LUCERNE REGATTA 2023, teams had a final chance to compete with the competition from all over the world and gain valuable insights for the last weeks of preparation leading up to the World Championships.

  1. The Continental Qualification Regattas

50 regular boats and 12 Para boats will secure their spot through continental qualification regattas in 2024. There will be four continental qualification regattas: in Asia/Oceania, Africa, America, and Europe. Only nations that have not yet qualified any or only one boat for the Games at the World Championships are eligible to participate. Unlike the starting spots obtained at the World Championships, there can be no reassignment of athletes qualified at the continental qualification regattas by their national federations.

  1. The final qualification regatta in Lucerne from May 19th to 21st, 2024

Another 30 rowing and 7 para-rowing boats will use the last chance at the Rotsee to qualify for Paris 2024. Here too, for the total of 96 regular athletes and 12 Para athletes who earn a spot, once they secure a place, they are fixed in the boat – there can be no reassignment by national federations. This regatta, bearing the unfortunate nickname “Regatta of Death,” determines whether an international rowing career will be crowned with participation in the Games or not.

Just under a year to go until the Olympic regatta

It’s now just under a year until the Olympic regatta in Paris. The countdown is on… and the excitement for the moment when we will hear “Attention, Go!” from July 27th to August 3rd, 2024, in Vaires-sur-Marne is rising.