World Rowing announced last night that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has decided to include Lightweight Rowing for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

It was proposed that Coastal Rowing was to replace Lightweight Rowing, but the existing programme of 14 rowing categories will remain in place for 2024. This means that for Paris 2024 the Men & Women’s Lightweight Double Sculls category will continue.

Current Olympic Rowing Categories:

  • Single Sculls (1x) Men/Women
  • Pair (2-) Men/Women
  • Double Sculls (2x) Men/Women
  • Four (4-) Men/Women
  • Quadruple Sculls (4x) Men/Women
  • Eight (8+) Men/Women
  • Lightweight Double Sculls (2x) Men/Women

Lightweight Rowing has been a massive part of Irish Rowing’s history. Over the years in the Olympics, Ireland has entered three Lightweight Men’s Double Boats (1996, 2004, 2016), four Men’s Lightweight Four Boats (1996, 2000, 2004, 2008) and one Lightweight Women’s Double boat (2016).

Ireland won its first rowing Olympic Medal in the Men’s Lightweight Double Sculls in Rio 2016 with Paul and Gary O’Donovan winning Silver. Since the Rio Olympics in 2016, Irish Lightweight Rowing has continued to go from strength to strength. Rowing Ireland appointed Antonio Maurogiovanni as High-Performance Director in 2017, and Dominic Casey was appointed the High-Performance Lightweight Coach.

Paul O’Donovan has gone on to win four consecutive World Championships. In 2016 and 2017, Paul won Gold in the Lightweight Single Sculls and 2018, Paul and Gary won Gold in the Lightweight Double Sculls. In 2019, Paul won his fourth Gold alongside Fintan McCarthy in the Lightweight Double Scull. In 2020, Fintan continued this success by winning Bronze in the 2020 European Championships in the Lightweight Single Scull.

The Irish Lightweight Women’s Team has also continued to be successful over the last number of years. The young squad of Aoife Casey, Lydia Heaphy, Cliodhna Nolan and Margaret Cremen have been producing excellent results at the highest level. At the 2020 European U23 Rowing Championships Lydia Heaphy and Cliodhna, Nolan won Gold in the Lightweight Women’s Pair, and Margaret and Aoife won Silver in the Lightweight Women’s Double Scull. Lydia went on to win the B Final of the Lightweight Women’s Single Scull, and Margaret and Aoife finished 2nd in their B Final at the 2020 European Rowing Championships.

Rowing Ireland’s CEO Michelle Carpenter said, “We were disappointed to hear that Offshore rowing will not be included in the 2024 Paris Olympic games. We have welcomed many new members of the Offshore rowing community into our membership in Rowing Ireland over the last number of years, and we know that they will be disappointed with this news.

Notwithstanding this were didn’t expect to hear that lightweight rowing would be included in the Paris 2024 games. We have always had a strong team of lightweight rowers, and this year we’re delighted with success at U23, and Senior European Championships in these categories another Olympic games for this discipline is a huge bonus that we did not expect.”

High-Performance athlete and current World Champion, Fintan McCarthy said, “It’s great news for us all, a bit of light at the end of the 2020 tunnel.

This means that we can carry on the dream for a few more years and get some more opportunities to do what we love!”

For more information on the IOC’s decision visit: