Kelly Slater, an 11-time World champion surfer, is not ruling out trying to compete in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics at age 48, should surfing be added to the Olympic program.
“If we finally do get into the Olympics, and I’m physically fine, if I don’t have injuries and I get chosen by the States to surf in that, it’d be a huge honor,” Slater said in a March 1 interview on “In Depth with Graham Bensinger” that will air this weekend. “I think, especially at that age, it would be a huge honor.”
Slater, whose world ranking has fallen in recent years, has backed surfing’s inclusion in the Olympics for years, even though he said he’s not officially lobbying on the sport’s behalf.
Last September, Tokyo 2020 announced surfing as one of five proposed sports to add for its edition of the Olympics. The others are baseball/softball, karate, skateboarding and sport climbing.
The International Olympic Committee will decide this summer as to if any of the sports will be added for the Tokyo Olympics.
Slater said IOC officials have watched surfing’s World Championships in person as far back as 1984. And he thinks Japan could be a viable surfing competition host, with a wave pool.
“There’s a pretty strong surf culture there,” he told Bensinger. “I think a wave pool in Japan makes a lot of sense. … You can have exact start times, and you know how to control your field and that kind of thing. … The summer time in Japan can have really slow surf or no surf. … It would be really interesting if a wave pool was a way to display surfing the first time in the Olympics.”