Surfing In The 2020 Olympics?

The Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee announced eight events to be considered for inclusion at the Games of the XXXII Olympiad (Tokyo 2020). While chess, tug of war, and Frisbee, among others, didn’t make the cut, surfing finally did. This decision comes after two decades of proposals of adding surfing to the Olympics.

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Proponents of adding surfing to the Olympics point to the multi billion-dollar dollar global surfing industry, with an estimated 35 million people riding waves around the world. They argue surfing has plunged into mainstream society all over the globe. Why not give the thousands of talented young surfers with Olympic dreams the chance to represent their country on the Olympic stage?

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Not everyone wants surfing added to the Olympics. Australian pro surfer Owen Wright, told Reuters the day after the IOC announcement: “I think surfing in itself is more of an art form and an expression. The Olympic banner doesn’t really suit the sport.”

Like it or not, a big part of surfing is big business fueled by money. There will always be the divide between surfing as an activity vs. surfing as a sport (business).


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