Australian Tyler Wright is a two-time reigning World Surf League champion, which makes her an early favorite for the first Olympic surfing title at Tokyo 2020.
While Wright said surfing’s Olympic inclusion is “incredible,” her focus remains on those season-long world titles, according to the Australian.
“I wouldn’t say I get paid to win gold medals,” she said, according to the report. “I more get paid to win world titles. That’s where it comes into more perspective for me.
“My clear job is to win world titles. It takes a whole, full year to win one. It takes so many conversations. It takes so much preparation for every single individual event. So much work goes into a world title year that is really hard to question it. That’s why I think it will always be known as the biggest thing in surfing. whether the rest of the world recognizes that, I don’t think the people who surf will really care. That’s kind of the way I view it. I’m not denying that winning the gold medal wouldn’t be really freaking cool, but it’s a long way off, and I’ve got other things to focus on now.”
Like, potentially, making the Australian Olympic team.
The maximum number of Olympic surfers per country hasn’t been announced. The fields are 20 men and 20 women and will be determined in the 2019 and 2020 seasons.
It could make things tricky for Australia, land of the top three women in last year’s World Surf League standings, plus another four in the top 18.
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Tokyo 2020 venues for the new Olympic sports of baseball, softball, karate, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing were approved by the International Olympic Committee on Wednesday.
That brings the total number of Tokyo 2020 venues to 39, with the potential for more.
The venues for new sports:
Baseball/softball — Yokohama Stadium (20 miles south of Tokyo)
Karate — Nippon Budokan
Skateboarding and Sport Climbing — Aomi Urban Sports Venue
Surfing — Tsurigasaki Beach
All of the new sports do not currently have a spot on the Olympic program beyond 2020 (baseball and softball were previously on the Olympic program before being taken off after Beijing 2008).
Agenda 2020 reforms allowed Olympic host cities to propose the addition of sports for their Games only, which is what Tokyo 2020 did to get them on the program.
The Tokyo Olympic venues are split between two zones — the Heritage Zone and the Tokyo Bay Zone — that are separated by the Olympic Village.
Tokyo 2020 and FIFA are still discussing the finalization of soccer venues. There are currently six, including two in Tokyo and one as far away as Sapporo (650 miles north).
Tokyo 2020 and the World Baseball Softball Confederation are still discussing the potential of adding a second baseball-softball venue in Fukushima prefecture, the site of 2011 nuclear plant meltdowns caused by an earthquake and tsunami. Fukushima is about 150 miles north of Tokyo.
The Tokyo Dome, home of the Yomiuri Giants and several MLB and World Baseball Classic games, is not a 2020 Olympic venue.
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Wednesday afternoon the International Olympic Committee announced that it has approved the addition of five sports for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, with skateboarding and surfing due to make their respective Olympic debuts. Also making the cut were baseball/softball, karate and sports climbing. While baseball and softball are obviously two separate sports, their bid was a joint bid hence their approval as a single entity.
However, It “The additional sports in Tokyo will not impact the athlete or event quotas of existing Olympic sports or be binding on future host cities,” per the IOC release. “The current athlete and event quotas are unaffected.”
Baseball and softball were both removed from the Olympics following the 2008 Summer Olympics in Bejing, with baseball having made its debut as an official Olympic sport in 1992. Softball made its debut as an Olympic sport in 1996 in Atlanta. While those two sports have prior history in the Summer Olympics, the other four sports added Wednesday do not. Karate joins tae kwon do and judo as martial arts in the Summer Olympics, with tae kwon do making its official debut in 2000 and judo doing so way back in 1972 (judo was part of the 1964 Summer Olympics program, but not in 1968).
“We want to take sport to the youth. With the many options that young people have, we cannot expect any more that they will come automatically to us,” IOC president Thomas Bach said of the additions. “We have to go to them. Tokyo 2020’s balanced proposal fulfils all of the goals of the Olympic Agenda 2020 recommendation that allowed it. Taken together, the five sports are an innovative combination of established and emerging, youth-focused events that are popular in Japan and will add to the legacy of the Tokyo Games.”
There was no shortage of positive reactions on Twitter to the additions of these sports, as one would expect.