There’s two minutes remaining in surfing’s gold medal heat at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, an Aussie athlete needs only a single scoring ride to win in front of fourty thousand spectators and hundreds of millions of TV viewers across the globe.
This scenario is a very real prospect, after the International Surfing Association (ISA) submitted a formal bid in June this year, it has been announced surfing has made the final shortlist for inclusion at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
As one of Australia’s unofficial national sports, surfing will be competing with baseball/softball, karate, skateboarding and sports climbing before a final decision is made at the 129th IOC Session in Rio in August 2016.
Olympic Committee Panel chair Fujio Mitarai said sports popular with the younger demographic such as surfing would be popular.
“One thing I can say is that they’re popular among young people. Many are engaged in them globally.”
Surfing Australia CEO Andrew Stark spoke of the many positives of the sport’s potential inclusion.
“Surfing Australia is ecstatic at the news of our confirmed nomination for Olympic inclusion at the 2020 Japan Olympic Games. Surfing’s inclusion into the Olympics would be a dream come true for our sport.
We have been striving for many years to achieve Olympic Games inclusion and we certainly believe the Olympics will be better off with our sports inclusion. Australia will most certainly be a genuine Gold medal prospect and we look forward to starting the journey towards Olympic glory in 2020. This is a fantastic progression for surfing and for the Olympics”.
Surfing Australia Chair and seven times World Champion Layne Beachley said the sport would benefit immensely if selected as a new Olympic sport.
“Inclusion into 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games is a remarkable opportunity for surfing to be showcased in the international arena of sport. This reinforces the importance of Surfing Australia’s High Performance Centre and our developmental pathways to ensure continued nurturing and future success of our athletes.” “We are absolutely thrilled to be considered for inclusion and will do everything in our power to work with the AOC and the IOC to ensure this is a truly successful collaboration. There is no doubt we have the talent and membership to deserve this recognition, all that is missing is the opportunity so this announcement is one step closer to achieving our long term vision.”
Australian three times World Champion and current Word Surf League ratings leader Mick Fanning passionately backed the bid.
“It is probably the most watched sporting event in the world. It would be a huge honour to go and represent your country at such a prestigious competition.’
Australian Olympic Committee Media Director Mike Tancred said Australia’s strength as a surfing nation should have all sports fans excited about the prospect of Olympic inclusion.
“Australia is such a great surfing nation and we are very excited to now see the sport in Olympic contention for 2020. Olympic involvement will encourage more kids to get off the couch and try surfing and this results in a fitter, healthier Australia thanks to sport.”
Since the first ever World Surfing Titles were held at Manly Beach back in 1964, Australia has been a dominant force in the world surfing scene winning a combined total of 34 men’s and women’s world titles.