Luca Rambaldi (b), Matteo Sartori (s), Men's Double Sculls, Italy, 2024 World Rowing Cup I, Varese, Italy / World Rowing / Benedict Tufnell

ROWER OF THE MONTH – Last year Italy’s Matteo Sartori qualified the men’s double sculls for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games – following in the wake of his three-time Olympic medal-winning father Alessio. Fresh off a silver medal at the 2024 World Rowing Cup I, Matteo Sartori is our Rower of the Month.

How influential was your father for you?

I started rowing in 2012 when he won the silver medal at the Olympics in London. I was 10 years old. I started to row for the Fiammegialle club. My father is a legend, for me an inspiration. He’s a very good athlete, and he’s a symbol for me. My father wrote the pages of his book, now I’m writing the pages of my book.

What do you enjoy about rowing?

I like the pressure of the race. I like when I’m very positive for the race, and I like the adrenalin. Also the water, for me, it’s life.

Why do you enjoy racing the double sculls?

It’s tradition for me, because of my father. I like the seat, now I’m the stroke man. I did a lot of racing in the quadruple sculls in 2021 and 2022. In 2021 we took the silver medal at the under-23 World Championships, and in 2022 in Varese we took the gold medal. So I like the quadruple sculls a lot, but now I prefer the double sculls.

What makes you and Luca Rambaldi a successful combination?

He’s a perfectionist. He has a very good mindset and I try to copy that mentality, for training, for racing. For me it’s a very good asset. I am young, and when you are young you run fast. This is a good combination because as a perfectionist he’s very calm and I’m a little bit crazy.

Luca Rambaldi (b), Matteo Sartori (s), Men’s Double Sculls, Italy, Gold, Benjamin Davison (b), Sorin Koszyk (s), United States of America, Silver, Zhiyu Liu (b), Liang Zhang (s), People’s Republic of China, Bronze, 2023 World Rowing Cup II, Varese, Italy / World Rowing/Benedict Tufnell

What was it like qualifying the boat for Paris and finishing fourth at the 2023 World Rowing Championships?

The boat was feeling good, we had a good feeling. We had opponents of a good level. The Netherlands are an incredible crew; Croatia, the Sinkovic brothers are an incredible crew. Ireland had a good race last year in Belgrade, we met throughout the year. We won a lot of races with Ireland, but they won the most important last year.

Maybe the fourth place is not a good place, but we are focused this year on our goals.

What are your goals for the season?

Arriving at the Olympics at 100 per cent. Now, me and Luca [Rambaldi] are at a good level, not an optimal level but a good level. We hope to have a great season.

What is your favourite training session?

On the erg, 3000m 10 times. It’s at 22 strokes a minute for 30 kilometres, and you push hard for 30km, and I like it. Three minutes’ rest.

What music do you listen to on the erg?

I have a lot of music that I listen to. Pop – Rihanna, Will.i.am, Eminem. I like this genre.

What is the most useful piece of advice you have been given?

A coach told me to focus on the boat, not on the opponents, and push very hard – whatever it takes.

Where is your favourite place to row?

Varese. All the races I’ve done here I have a good feeling – the Italian championships, World Championships, World Cup, I have always a good feeling. I won the under-23 World Championships here.

I like the weather, the water, the lake, the people. We are in Italy and so this is amazing, a very warm place.