In 1920 The Duke made a formal proposal to the Olympic Committee on the behalf of surfing. Now, 100 years later, that request will (likely) be honored. As of today, The Tokyo Organizing Committee has included surfing, alongside four other sports, to be introduced into the games. These sports reflect Japan’s interests and appeal to a more youthful audience. Besides Surfing, we’re likely to see skateboarding, karate, baseball/softball and sport climbing added to the games. (Bowling and squash were also nominees to be considered, but then the Tokyo Committee remembered that they are trying to build a global audience not a rec center in South Florida.)
The man who has taken on this initiative, Fernando Aguerre — the President of the ISA — had this to say about Tokyo’s decision:
“Tokyo 2020s announcement today is an extraordinary moment for our sport and for the global surfing Community. The ISA has been riding an amazing wave in this journey for Olympic inclusion and we are thrilled that Tokyo 2020 recognizes the exceptional value and youthful lifestyle that surfing can bring to the Games. We are deeply grateful to Tokyo 2020 and the IOC for providing us with this wonderful opportunity. We’re immensely proud of our sport and what it would bring to the Games and we will continue to work closely with the Olympic Movement to achieve our Olympic dream.”
The WSL is also on board, officially releasing this statement on their website this morning:
“We are pleased that surfing has been recommended for inclusion in the 2020 Games by the Tokyo Olympic Organizers,” said Kieren Perrow, Commissioner of the World Surf League. “Surfing’s international growth over the past few years, its loyal and enthusiastic fans combined with its globally recognized athletes makes it an ideal sport to showcase on the Olympic stage. We’re excited to show billions of Olympic viewers the athleticism and artistry of these world-class surfers.”
Although this is a tremendous step forward for our sport, nothing is a guarantee just yet. A final decision will be made by the International Olympic Committee next August.