Oliver Zeidler, Men's Single Sculls, Germany, 2023 World Rowing Championships, Belgrade, Serbia © World Rowing/Benedict Tufnell

There is no doubt about the phenomenal talent of Germany’s Olli Zeidler, and he has just added another string to his bow by being named the 2023 World Rowing Men’s Crew of the Year.

Zeidler’s 2023 success comes off the back of a rowing career that saw him shoot to success in a very short space of time. He then endured bumps in his ever-growing career, only to handle them with the spirit of a winner to make his 2023 season exceptional and culminate in a World Championship title in the tremendously competitive men’s single sculls.

Zeidler stepped into rowing after being a competitive swimmer. Coming from a rowing family, Zeidler did attempt rowing as a 13-year-old. It didn’t grab him and he went back to swimming. Aiming for the Rio 2016 Olympics as a swimmer, Zeidler did not qualify. Later that year Zeidler again stepped into a boat and unlike his early attempts he was able to take a few strokes and not fall out.

Oliver Zeidler, Men’s Single Sculls, Germany, Gold, Simon Van Dorp, Netherlands, Silver, Thomas Mackintosh, New Zealand, Bronze, 2023 World Rowing Championships, Belgrade, Serbia © World Rowing/Benedict Tufnell

Less than two years later Zeidler lined up at the start of World Rowing Cup I in Belgrade, Serbia as Germany’s number two single sculler. In his first international race he faced off against Olympic medallist Kjetil Borch of Norway. Zeidler finished second to Borch and went on to earn the bronze in the final. The word was out that there was a new kid on the block.

That same year Zeidler raced to sixth in the A-final. His rowing career was underway. The following year, 2019, Zeidler became a World Champion and the favourite to take gold at the Tokyo Olympics. This, however, was not to be. His inexperience in rough water came through and he finished outside the A-final in seventh.

His ever-growing rowing experience and ability to come back from disappointment has served Zeidler well and in 2022 he again became the single sculling World Champion.

For 2023 Zeidler successfully defended his title despite strong competition from Simon van Dorp of the Netherlands, New Zealand’s Tom Mackintosh, and Tokyo Olympic Champion Stefanos Ntouskos of Greece.

Zeidler also scored a 2023 ‘hat trick’ by winning all three World Rowing Cups and doing it in a dominating style.

On receiving his award Zeidler spoke of the dedication of his wider team and his love of rowing.

“While I may be alone in the boat the truth is there’s a dedicated team of supporters, mentors and loved ones who are part of my journey. Their belief in my potential their guidance and the countless hours they’ve invested play a major role in my successes.

“2023 was the best rowing season of my career so far. Winning this award is a recognition of my dad and coach who has made me the rower I am today.

“Rowing means the world to me and you can really see and feel when you watch my races that I row with my heart and my soul.”

Zeidler now moves into the 2024 season in the best position to score gold at the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.