After showing in Portugal, Andino provisionally qualifies for Olympics
(October 18, 2019) – Kolohe Andino made history today as the first American surfer to provisionally qualify for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, where the sport of surfing will make its debut.
“I wanted to finish World No. 1 and I knew that if I did that, it would obviously be good enough to qualify for the Olympics,” said Andino. “The WSL Title race is getting down to the wire and some weird stuff has to happen for me to finish World No. 1, but I am just really stoked. I felt like I almost wanted to tear up a little bit. I went and told my dad, and I am so happy and could not be more excited to compete in Tokyo. Surfing is definitely unique and it is almost a lifestyle and an art, but it should be really exciting to compete there. I love my country and I always love watching the Olympics, so it will be really rad to be in the Opening Ceremony and to be a part of everything.”
Following Andino’s performance at the World Surf League’s (WSL) MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal he is guaranteed to finish in the two top American men on the 2019 WSL Rankings, which earns a spot on Team USA’s first Olympic surf team. The final spots on Team USA’s two-man, two-woman Olympic team will be determined at the end of WSL season in December – following the women’s Maui Pro event and the men’s Hawaii Pipe Masters event.
Provisionally qualified athletes now 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 World Surfing Games.
“It is such an exciting day for surfing and sport. Being the first American surfer to qualify for surfing’s first Olympic Games is a tremendous honor,” said USA Surfing CEO Greg Cruse. “Kolohe Andino, aka ‘Captain America,’ is such an exciting surfer to watch. He will represent our country and sport with distinction.”
Head coach Chris Stone said that from his first days on the job, he had Kolohe on his wish list for the team going to the Olympics. "His competitive drive and love of country make him perfect for the job. Not to mention his small surf abilities and air game, which make him formidable in the beach breaks of Japan," said Stone. "If his medal-winning clutch performance at the September ISA World Surfing Games in Japan is any indication, we have a 2020 gold medal contender in Kolohe. So happy to have him on the team."
San Clemente, California’s Andino is a second-generation pro surfer and is one of the most entertaining surfers to watch, with an aggressive, progressive style. His father, Dino Andino, competed on the World Tour surfer and was a national champion in the early 90s. The 25-year old phenom put the world on notice when he stuck a massive full-rotation board-grab air to take the silver medal from 2018 world champion Brazil’s Gabriel Medina at the ISA World Surfing Games last month. The Japanese fans dubbed him “Captain America” - there is definitely a resemblance and he loves wearing red, white and blue. As a grom, Andino won seven USA Surfing Champion titles and nine National Scholastic Surfing Association (NSSA) championships – a record for boys under 18.
There is just one more event in the WSL’s Championship Tour (CT) Olympic-qualifying season – the women’s Maui Pro event and the men’s Hawaii Pipe Masters event in November/December. The WSL CT is the pathway for 18 countries (including the U.S.) to qualify surfers 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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