“Giving Games” Celebrate One Year Out from the Rescheduled Tokyo Olympic Games, Raising Critical Funding and Awareness
San Clemente, Calif., (July 22, 2020) – USA Surfing joins 33 Olympic sports on Thursday to celebrate being one year from the rescheduled Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. The Olympic Games will be the first unifying, global event following the pandemic, and Team USA surfers - Kolohe Andino, Carissa Moore, Caroline Marks, John John Florence and coach Brett Simpson - will be there to stand together as one world celebrating sport.
To support surfing's Olympic berth and spread surfing's stoke to more new audiences, the Giving Games will launch on Friday, July 24.
Giving Games is a unique campaign that brings individual U.S. sports together as one united force and asks fellow Americans to support our athletes as they extend their Olympic journeys to Tokyo for another year.
The Giving Games will take place during the two-week window that would have been the 2020 Tokyo Games. In the absence of epic athlete performances, competition, flag waving and celebrations, we are asking you to rally together as Americans and show your support of this important fundraising effort and the new journey to Tokyo 2021. The Giving Games provides fans with multiple opportunities to learn about our athletes and to participate in online sweepstakes, games, world records, and more.
U.S. athletes and the sports organizations that support them do not receive government funding like most competing nations do. As a result, U.S. athletes are required to self-support through individual donations, sponsorships, memberships and event revenues.
The Giving Games campaign is a great way to celebrate being one year from the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. “America’s athletes need our support to compete in 2021,” said Max Cobb, Chair of the National Governing Bodies Council. “At a time when America feels extraordinarily divided, this is an opportunity to come together in our common love of country and sport for the pursuit of success on the world stage, raising funds to directly support our athletes and our sports that sustain them, and their dreams, during this critical next year.”
Please join us in spreading the word and raising funds during this critical time by visiting www.givinggames2020.com. You can donate or share Giving Games' great features of USA surfers and Giving Games ambassadors Kevin Schulz, Courtney Conlogue and Brett Simpson and Team USA Surfers on your social media channels. See athlete bios below.
“We are stoked to be part of the Giving Games campaign, which raises awareness about and funding for our awesome sport and athletes,” USA Surfing CEO Greg Cruse said. “We are helping the next generation participate in a life-changing sport and pursue their Olympic dreams.”
GIVING GAMES AMBASSADORS
Kevin Schulz, USA Surfing 2019 Pan Am Games athlete and aerial phenom
San Clemente, Calif.
A 2019 winner of the World Surf League Qualifying Series SLO CAL open event and 2018 Jacks Pro QS 1500 Champion, Kevin Schulz is considered one of the most progressive surfers today. He won the 2019 Stab High’s “Freak Peak” event with what is being called the biggest air landed in Waco, Texas’ BSR Wavepool’s history.
Schulz is a product of the USA Surfing program, coming up through the Western Surfing Association, National Scholastic Surfing Association and USA Surfing Prime Series. He was on the USA Junior Surf Team in Nicaragua in 2013 and the USA Surf Team in Costa Rica in 2016. Kevin has pioneered surfing in the cold waters of Canada and Alaska and been featured in many surfing magazines and websites. While competing on the World Surfing League Qualifying Series, he is attending Northwestern University, working on earning a Bachelor’s degree in Health Management.
Courtney Conlogue, USA Surfing 2019 World Surfing Games athlete and junior team coach
Santa Ana, Calif.
Courtney Conlogue started surfing at the age of four and was the youngest athlete to make the USA Surfing international team at 11 years old. Don’t let her big smile and infectious laugh fool you, she’s fierce. After being sidelined by a foot injury for the first half of 2018, her comeback form and tenacity earned a US Olympic and Paralympic Committee nomination for its Athlete of the Month award. She won two titles in just under two months (the 2018 Vans US Open and Roxy Pro France). She is a two-time runner up for the World Champion title and is determined to clinch the world title when the WSL Championship Tour resumes.
Conlogue says she can’t wait to see surfers walking in the parade of nations with the five rings on Team USA’s uniforms. “The Olympics for me is just such an amazing experience where so many sports are just respected,” Conlogue said on The Surf Channel. “Surfing is such a beautiful sport to watch and I think it is important to share it on the Olympic stage.”
Brett Simpson, Team USA’s first Olympic surf coach
Huntington Beach, Calif.
Two-time US Open winner Brett Simpson was unanimously voted by Team USA’s surf athletes to lead the team as they take to the world’s biggest sporting stage next summer in Japan.
Simpson coached USA Surfing’s junior national team to team gold and the World Surfing Games team to silver last year. He said he is proud and honored to have earned the team’s trust and to represent his country as the Olympic team head coach. No other men’s surfer has won back-to-back U.S. Open titles.
“Team USA is absolutely stacked with Carissa Moore, Caroline Marks, John John Florence and Kolohe Andino,” Simpson said. “Their precision, energy and power are made for the Olympic stage, where medals are decided in the span of a few short days of giving it 110 percent, no mistakes, and mastering what the ocean provides at that time.”
Simpson has been working with California team members during the pandemic (Hawaii has a travel ban.), simulating high-pressure decision making. “In a sport where the playing field constantly changes, having headspace awareness and mental toughness can be the most critical factor in determining gold medals,” Simpson said.
TEAM USA OLYMPIC SURFERS
Kolohe Andino (San Clemente, California)
Andino was the first American surfer to provisionally qualify for Team USA’s Olympic surf team with performances so strong he earned the position in October before the season ended. Growing up in San Clemente with a pro surfer dad, he won seven USA Surfing Champion titles and nine National Scholastic Surfing Association championships – a record for boys under 18. Andino has an aggressive, acrobatic style. His default approach is going big, which makes him one of the most filmed and entertaining surfers. Many of his hometown San Clemente groms look up to Andino, who is quick to encourage and support the region’s up-and-coming talent.
John John Florence (Oahu, Hawaii)
Florence is a two-time world champion and made an incredible comeback from injury to gain provisional Olympic qualification in 2019. Despite missing more than half the season recovering from ACL surgery, he held onto one of two top U.S. spots after returning to compete in the WSL's final event of the season - the Pipe Masters. He started 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, Florence won his first title and clinched his second in 2017. His surfing is in a league of its own; he effortlessly pulls off freakish airs and maneuvers with athleticism and style.
Caroline Marks (Melbourne Beach, Florida)
Marks made history as the youngest surfer (man or woman) to qualify for the World Surf League Championship Tour at just 15 years old and had a performance so strong she was named WSL Rookie of the Year. She finished her second year on tour ranked No. 2 in the world and is aiming for her first world championship title in 2020. She grew up in Melbourne Beach, Fla., where she learned to surf with her brothers when she was 8 years old. Before going on the WSL CT, she racked up multiple USA Surfing championship wins, including winning the gold medal in the 2016 ISA World Junior Surfing Championships Girls Under 16 division.
Carissa Moore (Oahu, Hawaii)
Moore is ranked No. 1 in the world, earning her fourth world title in 2019. She surfs with remarkable power and finesse and is known for her work to help young girls develop confidence and pursue their dreams. Moore 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. At age 18, she became the youngest surfer – male or female – to win a surfing world title and was the first woman to compete in the Triple Crown of Surfing, Hawaii’s most prestigious contest series. Moore 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.
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