Simon Burgess joined with Anthony Edwards, Darren Balmforth and Robert Richards in the lightweight four at Sydney 2000. Supported by a parochial home crowd, the crew was leading until 50 metres from the end of the 2000m race before it was passed by the fast-finishing French crew and thus settled for the silver medal. The same Australian crew had finished third and second respectively at the previous two world championships and Burgess, Richards and Balmforth were in the winning lightweight eight at the 1997 world championships.
At Athens 2004 Burgess joined with Edwards again, Glen Loftus and Ben Cureton in the same boat to finish a gallant second behind the powerful Danish crew.
Burgess finished sixth at Atlanta 1996, in the same event, when lightweight rowing made its Olympic debut. His first medals at the world championships were a bronze in the lightweight quadruple sculls in 1990 and a gold in the same event a year later.