After years of consideration International Olympic Committee decides to include surfing
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 3 August, 2016 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - Today, the International Olympic Committee formally included surfing as a gold medal sport in the Sports Programme for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games. The vote was taken at the 129th IOC Session in Rio de Janeiro.
The WSL, Surfing Australia, The International Surfing Association and several other groups expressed gratitude and excitement following today's decision to add Surfing to the Sports Program.
"This is a game-changing moment for Surfing," said ISA President, Fernando Aguerre. "We are already seeing increased popularity of the sport across the world and the Olympic Games will provide an incredible platform to further showcase Surfing and its core values. With its unique and modern blend of sport performance, style and youth culture, Surfing will help deliver something special to the Games."
Surfing Australia jumped on the announcement touting the long roster of Aussie world champs and saying that 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.
“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.”
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.
The 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo will also include skateboarding, karate, sports climbing, softball and baseball.
Kieren Perrow, Commissioner of the World Surf League added: “The WSL has worked tirelessly to provide all of its surfers with opportunities to develop as professional athletes and to expand global participation in the sport of surfing. We’re excited by the IOC’s decision and look forward to what it means for the future of professional surfing.”
"For the sport, being accepted onto the Olympic stage is a great step forward," Perrow continued. "Surfing continues to grow and seeing it reach the Olympic level is really exciting,” said John John Florence, current WSL #2. “I'm looking forward to the opportunity of representing our country if I'm fortunate enough to make the U.S. team."
Most notable throughout this whole process is the work that the International Surfing Association and Fernando Aguerre have done to make this project a reality.
"We know the hard work does not stop here," said Aguerre. "We look forward with great enthusiasm and energy to working in partnership with the IOC and Tokyo 2020 as we aim to make Surfing's Olympic debut a resounding success."