The sport of surfing has been proposed to take part in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, in Japan. There will be two events for 20 male surfers and 20 female surfers.
The historic decision was announced by the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee this 28th September 2015. Surfing — alongside skateboarding, karate, sports climbing, and baseball/softball — has been proposed by the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee to enter the Olympic Games. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) should confirm the new sports at the 129th IOC Session, in Rio, in August 2016.
It’s been a long discussion — should surfing be included in the Olympic movement? The so-called purists of the sport have often showed antipathy towards the idea; the progressivists embraced and supported it.
However, the biggest winner here is clearly Fernando Aguerre. The president of the International Surfing Association (ISA) has been fighting for the inclusion of surfing in the Olympic Games for more than a decade. His arguments are valid and understandable.
«Surfing is truly a global sport, more popular and more widely practiced than many current Olympic sports. Surfing is pursued in every corner of the world, in more than a hundred countries. There are now over 35 million surfers worldwide!» wrote Aguerre.
«Surfers are a strong and positive influence on young people around the world. They are a very relevant part of our youth culture and serve as inspirational figures, naturally representing Olympic values.»
Aguerre has always supported wave-making technologies as a natural path towards the Olympic Games. The ISA boss believes that surf pools will «provide opportunities for the integration of diverse socioeconomic, ethnic, religious, and age groups long after the Games have moved on.»
The president of the governing body for the sport of surfing has a final word for the purists. «I don’t believe that the soul of surfing requires it to be an elite sport for the lucky few who live near the ocean’s waves.»
It was a long road. The treacherous adventure into the Olympic movement started in 1992 when former ISA leader Jacques Hele started lobbying for surfing in the international sports event.
In the last 20 years, surfers lost five Olympic bids — Sydney, Athens, Beijing, London, and Brazil — and many questioned the sport’s ability to influence the IOC. However, surfing is writing a new page in its rich history book. Hopefully, the critics will join the party.
Aguerre is surely not alone in the celebrations. Kelly Slater, Gerry Lopez, Mick Fanning, Hank Gaskell, Taylor Knox, Gabriel Medina were some of the names who have backed the dream. And the dream is now reality. Surfing is one step closer of joining windsurfing in the Olympics.