The Tokyo Olympic Organizing Committee announced that it approved surfing for inclusion in the 2020 Tokyo games. This doesn’t mean that surfing is officially in yet, just that the Tokyo games organizers have recommended its addition, along with four other sports — baseball/softball, karate, sport climbing, and skateboarding. The surfing portion would be shortboard only, and have 40 participants, 20 male and 20 female.
“We firmly believe that by connecting with youth, bringing to life Olympic Agenda 2020 and the Tokyo 2020 vision, our proposal constitutes the best possible package that will add the most value to the Games,” said Fujio Mitarai, chair of the panel, on the Tokyo 2020 website.
Declaring themselves, delighted, the ISA President, Fernando Aguerre, said: “Tokyo 2020’s 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 recognise the exceptional value and youthful lifestyle that Surfing can bring to the 2020 Games. We are deeply grateful to Tokyo 2020 and the IOC for providing us with this wonderful opportunity. We are 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.
“Surfing has incredible and growing global appeal, particularly amongst young people, and we believe that the dynamic energy of the sport and its fan base around the world would bring many benefits for Tokyo 2020 and the games. Surfing embodies a cool, playful lifestyle that would add a completely new element to the programme, helping the games reach new fans through live action and stunning broadcast opportunities.
“Today’s announcement gives us renewed drive and focus and we are looking forward to working closely with the IOC and Tokyo 2020 in the crucial months ahead to deliver the best possible solution to the IOC Session in Rio.”
Following the announcement the World Surf League (WSL) released the following statement: “We are pleased that surfing has been recommended for inclusion in the 2020 Games by the Tokyo Olympic Organisers,” said Kieren Perrow, Commissioner of the World Surf League, the sport’s governing body. “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.”