Carissa Moore & Caroline Marks Make History as First American Women Surfers Headed to Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
(December 1, 2019) – Carissa Moore and Caroline Marks made history today as the first American women surfers to provisionally qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games Tokyo, where the sport of surfing will make its debut.
“It’s such an emotional day to see Olympic dreams come true for Carissa Moore and Caroline Marks and witness the heartbreak of Lakey Peterson falling just short of qualification,” said USA Surfing CEO Greg Cruse. “I want to take all three women to the 2020 Olympic Games! Team USA was the hardest Olympic team in the world to make for women surfers.”
As the top two American women remaining in the World Surf League’s (WSL) final Maui Pro event, Carissa and Caroline are now guaranteed to finish as the two top American women on the 2019 WSL Rankings, earning them a spot on Team USA’s first Olympic surf team. Carissa and Caroline join teammate Kolohe Andino who qualified after the WSL’s Portugal event. The final man’s position on Team USA’s two-man, two-woman Olympic team will be determined following the men’s Hawaii Pipe Masters event, which starts next week. See Carissa, Caroline and Kolohe's bios below.
Being the first American surfers to qualify for surfing’s first Olympic Games is an honor and important benchmark in sport history. “I am so proud to have Carissa, Caroline and Kolohe represent our country in surfing’s first Olympics. Their competitive drive, commitment to excellence and love of surfing demonstrate what our sport is all about. I can’t wait to share it with the world at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020,” Cruse said.
The final men’s event in December will determine the final men’s spot on the team. Sidelined for the last five events of the season while recovering from ACL surgery, John John Florence will be back to compete in the final Pipe Masters event and is frothing to earn the last spot on Team USA’s Olympic surf team. Despite being out for most of the season, John is still ranked No. 8 in the world – just ahead of No. 10 Kelly Slater. Kolohe clinched the first Olympic qualification position after his performance in Portugal.
Provisionally qualified athletes will await U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee approval of the full U.S. Olympic Team for the 2020 Games and fulfilling requirements for USA Surfing such as surfing in the Spring 2020 International Surfing Association (ISA) World Surfing Games and mandatory training camps.
Learn more about Team USA’s provisional Olympic qualifiers and hopefuls:
Carissa Moore is a three-time World Champion from Honolulu. She surfs with remarkable power and finesse and is known for her work to help young girls develop confidence and pursue their dreams. Carissa is the only female surfer to compete in the WSL's most prestigious surfing event series - the Vans Triple Crown. Carissa started racking up wins at National Scholastic Surfing Association (NSSA) junior surf competitions and top spots at the ISA World Junior Surfing Championships, where she helped Hawaii win a team victory. In all, she clinched a record 11 NSSA amateur titles, and at age 16 became the youngest champion at a Triple Crown of Surfing event. Carissa was a star student at Punahou High (the same high school President Barack Obama attended) where she met her husband, Luke Untermann. She took four years of Japanese in high school and is looking forward to sharpening her use of the language during the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Caroline Marks is just 17 years old - the youngest surfer on the WSL's Championship Tour. She grew up in Melbourne Beach, Fla., learning to surf with her brothers when she was 8 years old. In 2014, she made the move to split her time between Florida and California, making the most of San Clemente’s world-class waves and year-round surf to improve her performance. She made history as the youngest surfer (man or woman) to qualify for the World Surf League Championship Tour at just 15 years old and finished 2018 ranked No. 8 and was named WSL Rookie of the Year. Her strong start to this season earned surfing’s first Team USA “Athlete of the Month” award – a distinction awarded by the USOPC to top athletes in all sports. Before going on the Championship Tour, she racked up multiple USA Surfing championship wins with powerful surfing that just keeps getting more impressive. In addition she surfed for USA Surfing in the 2016 ISA World Junior Surfing Championships Girls Under 16 division in the Azores and won the Gold Medal.
Kolohe Andino was the first American surfer to provisionally qualify for Team USA’s Olympic surf team following his strong performance in the penultimate event in Portugal. His current world ranking at No. 5 guarantees that he will finish in the two top American men on the 2019 WSL Rankings, which earns a spot on Team USA’s first Olympic surf team. Growing up in San Clemente with a pro surfer dad, Kolohe won seven USA Surfing Champion titles and nine National Scholastic Surfing Association championships – a record for boys under 18. One of the most entertaining surfers to watch, Kolohe has an aggressive, progressive style. Many of the local groms look up to Kolohe, who is quick to encourage and support the up-and-coming talent.
John John Florence – After winning two of the first four events of the season, an ACL injury forced the two-time world champion to the sidelines. His lead was so commanding, he remains in Olympic-qualifying contention after slipping from first to eighth – 3,000 points ahead of the other American men. John John grew up on the North Shore of Oahu, first surfing when he was just 2 years old. At the age of 13, he became the youngest person to compete in the Triple Crown of Surfing. Just six years later he would win his first title and in 2017 clinched his second. John John’s surfing is in a league of its own; he effortlessly pulls off freakish airs and maneuvers with athleticism and style. After being sidelined by injury, the surf world is on the edge of their seats waiting to see him back in the water and potentially qualifying for the Olympics.
Kelly Slater – The greatest surfer of all time racked up 11 World Titles, 55 career victories, and holds the distinction of youngest and oldest World Champion in men’s history. Kelly grew up on the East Coast and still has a home in Florida. His surfing continues to inspire and impress. Surfing for Olympic gold would be an athletic feat made for the GOAT.
The WSL CT is the pathway for 18 surfers to qualify for the Olympics. The remaining 22 surfers from countries that don’t participate in the WSL are determined through the 2019 and 2020 ISA World Surfing Games, and the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima. A one-man and one-woman team is reserved for the host nation, Japan.
Contact: becky (at) usasurfing (dot) org
USA Surfing is the National Governing Body for surfing in the United States, recognized by the International Surfing Association (ISA) and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC). USA Surfing’s mission is to promote and grow the sport of surfing and support United States athletes of all backgrounds to achieve sustained competitive excellence in Olympic, Paralympic, Pan American and Parapan American competition. USA Surfing will oversee and support America’s Olympic team as surfing makes its debut in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and surfing and stand-up paddleboarding athletes compete in the 2019 Pan American Games.
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