Earlier today, surfing, along with baseball, skateboarding, karate, and “sports climbing”, were unanimously voted by the IOC’s executive board to be added to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. These sports were hand-selected by Tokyo’s Olympic board, which hopes that more contemporary and thrilling sports will encourage youths to watch the Games.
Yoshiro Mori, chief of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, had this to say: “We have successfully passed the first gate. I am very happy with this result.” Mori went on to express his desire that the decision would help Japan “catch up with the trends of the time.”
On the surfing side of things, there is further development on format and structure of the event. First of all, the competition will include 20 men and 20 women from around the world. How the people will be chosen, the number of competitors from each country, etc., is still unknown. What’s even more interesting though, is that they will hold the competition in the ocean — not a wavepool. “We are looking at a natural beach for surfing. Japan has a number of strong surfing areas and strong existing surf culture,” said IOC sports director Kit McConnell. Slater is shaking with rage.
One person not shaking with rage, however, is ISA President Fernando Aguerre. Aguerre has been fighting for surfing’s inclusion in the Olympics for years, and he feels as though his efforts will finally come to fruition. On top of being “thrilled” about the IOC’s most recent vote, Aguerre went on to say, “This is a wonderful moment for our sport and for the global surfing family.”
However, surfing’s addition to the Olympics is not yet a foregone conclusion. The deciding vote will take place at this year’s Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Fingers crossed we win… or maybe lose? Still a little conflicted. –Michael Ciaramella