The International Olympic Committee today announced surfing has gained Olympic inclusion and shall make its debut at the 2020 Tokyo games.
There is no doubt Australia’s Olympic surf team will be fighting for the gold medal in Tokyo in both the men’s and women’s divisions and with world champions like Mick Fanning keen to get involved in whatever capacity they can, the sky is the limit.
“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,” 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.”
“If you have a look at the rookies that are on board at the moment like Jack Freestone, Stu Kennedy, Davey Cathels and Ryan Callinan, those guys along with your Matt Wilkinson’s have to be making a strong case for selection. Stephanie Gilmore, Sally Fitzgibbons and Tyler Wright have been leading the way but we have a really good depth of field for the women’s team as well,” Fanning went on to say.
Surfing Australia Chair and 7 x World Champion Layne Beachley spoke about the importance of inclusion and how she expects a global audience to react to surfing in Tokyo.
“From Surfing Australia’s point of view, this is what we have been working towards with all of our Sport Development Pathway programs which will come into fruition at the Olympic Games,”Beachley said.
“When people see surfing at the Olympic Games it is going to blow their minds, whether it is in a wave pool or in the ocean is irrelevant, the athleticism, the mindset and the ability to perform under pressure is what makes surfing so unique and I think the worldwide audience will appreciate how we can turn a wave into our own beautiful canvas.”
Current World Surf League World Junior Champion Isabella Nichols will be on the radar for selectors come Tokyo and was excited about the prospect of being a part of something so big in surfing.
“It is a really big step for surfing to be included in the Olympics in 2020, being recognised as a major sport is this arena is huge. If I end up competing in Tokyo it will be daunting with so many people worldwide watching it but so exciting at the same time, “Nichols said.
Today the International Olympic Committee approved to support five new sports at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games including karate, skateboarding, sports climbing, surfing and baseball/softball.
The Organising Committee for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 proposed the new sports in response to the new flexibility provided by Olympic Agenda 2020, the IOC’s strategic roadmap for the futures of the Olympic Movement, to encourage innovation in the Olympic program. Olympic Agenda 2020 gives host cities the option of suggesting new sports and events for inclusion in their edition of the Games.
Surfing Australia CEO Andrew Stark said: “This is a monumental day for the sport of surfing and is a true game changer for the sport globally and for our organisation. We are extremely excited by this decision by the IOC to include surfing into the summer Olympics and we genuinely look forward to working towards a successful Tokyo 2020 Olympics campaign.
“We congratulate and sincerely thank the International Surfing Association led by President Fernando Aguerre for their effort over the past two decades to make this Olympic dream come true.”