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.