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Fanning confident of Olympic success for surfing stars

28 September 2015

TOKYO 2020: Three-time World Champion Mick Fanning is confident Australia’s surfing superstars can climb to the top of the Olympic podium if the sport makes its debut at the Tokyo 2020 Games.

Alongside baseball/softball, karate, skateboarding and sport climbing, surfing was proposed by the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee to be added to the Olympic programme for the 2020 Games.

The recommendations were presented to the IOC on Monday night with a final decision to be made at the 129th IOC Session in Rio in August 2016.

“It would be amazing for surfers to have the opportunity to go and surf at the Olympics,” Fanning said.  

“It is probably the most watched sporting event in the world. It would be a huge honour to go and represent your country at such a prestigious competition.”

Since the first ever World Surfing Titles were held at Manly Beach back in 1964, Australia has been a dominant force in the world surfing scene winning a combined total of 34 men’s and women’s world titles.

The man who has laid claim to three of those sees no reason as to why this success would not continue at the Olympic Games.

“We’ve definitely got a great shot at getting on the podium.

“Australia has a lot of great talent coming up and I’m sure we’ll do great in Olympic competition.”

While Fanning admitted “he might be a little old” by 2020, he does believe there is some great surfers that could be reaching their peak in just under five years’ time.

“Young guys like Jack Freestone, Ryan Callinan and Mikey Wright are three guys that are really starting to find their feet on the World Tour and would be hitting good form around then.”

Although it hasn’t been a destination on the World Tour for a number of years, Fanning has had a great time surfing off the Japanese coasts throughout his career.

“I’ve been there a few times and loved it. Not only is the surfing good but it’s just a really fun place to be and the people are awesome.

“They use to run professional events at Chiba which is not far from Tokyo and it was always fun.”

Fanning was not the only one who couldn’t hide his excitement following the announcement.

“My love of the ocean and surfing is well known and I’m absolutely thrilled to hear the sport is now getting close to being included in the Olympic line up,” NSW Premier Mike Baird said.

“The incentive of achieving Olympic gold will no doubt boost the sport’s profile around the world and give aspiring surfers another reason to pursue their passion as a career.”

CEO of Surfing Australia Andrew Stark added: “Surfing’s inclusion into the Olympics would be a dream come true for our sport.

“Australia will most certainly be a genuine gold medal prospect and we look forward to starting the journey towards Olympic glory in 2020.

“This is a fantastic progression for surfing and for the Olympics”.

Whether Fanning is one of those gold medal prospects or not he does hope he can be involved in the Olympic experience.

“If I wasn’t surfing in the competition I would love to be a part of it one or another. We’ll just have to see what happens.”

Fanning will continue his bid for a fourth world title when the World Surf League continues in France on October 6.

Matt Bartolo

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