Let's take a look back at how we got here and where we are going
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 14 March, 2017 - Now that the International Olympic Committee has formally included surfing as a gold medal sport in the Sports Programme for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games, everyone is wondering how this monumental decision came to be and what an Olympic surfing event will look like.
Will it be held at a wave pool? In the ocean? Will Hawaii have a separate team from the USA? What will the Olympic Surfersvillage look like? These questions will be answered as we get closer to 2020. But for now, let’s examine what happened.
The vote to officially include surfing was taken at the 129th IOC Session in Rio de Janeiro last year after years of promotion and hard work by the International Surfing Association and its president Fernando Aguerre.
For years the International Surfing Association has held the World Surfing Games which modelled its format after an Olympic style event with teams from different countries competing for Gold, Silver, Bronze and Copper medals. On top of that, Aguerre attended several Olympic meetings promoting the sport to the powers that be.
As the Olympics made the decision to stay relevant to sporting enthusiasts it created a shortlist of potential sports for inclusion in 2015. Those sports included baseball, softball, skateboarding and karate. In August of 2016 all sports from the shortlist were added to the official games.
The WSL, Surfing Australia, The International Surfing Association and several other groups expressed gratitude and excitement following the decision to add Surfing to the Sports Program. World Champions John John Florence and Mick Fanning expressed excitement at the decision as well.
“I think it is great the Olympics has recognised surfing because it is such a global sport these days and for the people lucky enough to be competing it will be very prestigious, so I am extremely happy,” Mick Fanning said. “In four years time I don’t think I will be at the top of my game so I would be honoured to be a coach or mentor.”
Current world champion John John Florence doesn’t know if he’ll compete, and it’s unsure if competitors will represent Hawaii as they do at the ISA World Games or if they will represent team USA (It’s one of those details to be worked out as surfing prepares for the big show.) Either way John John is stoked at the idea of representing.
"Surfing continues to grow and seeing it reach the Olympic level is really exciting,” said John John Florence. “I'm looking forward to the opportunity of representing our country if I'm fortunate enough to make the U.S. team."