San Clemente, Calif. (July 2, 2019) -- USA Surfing sends our very best to current No. 1 surfer in the world John John Florence, as he announced he is out for the rest of the Olympic qualifying season due to an ACL injury. John John’s announcement is creating some changes in who is eligible to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games Tokyo, where surfing will make its Olympic debut.
“This is heart breaking news for John John, who staged an incredible comeback to become the No. 1 ranked surfer in the world after months of rehabilitation,” USA Surfing CEO Greg Cruse said. “USA Surfing is extremely disappointed that John John’s injury will keep him from leading our team at the World Surf Games this year.”
The considerable points John John has accumulated to date give him a significant lead over the rest of the field. It is feasible that he could remain in Olympic-qualifying contention.
John John’s exit puts Kelly Slater next in line to pursue Olympic qualification, which will include competing in the International Surfing Association (ISA) World Surfing Games in September 2019 in Japan. Kelly was invited to participate once USA Surfing learned of the extent of John’s injury. Kolohe Andino and Conner Coffin are the two other members of Team USA’s men. The invitations to surf in the WSG are based on World Surf League standings following the WSL’s Margaret River event.
“Kelly Slater – the greatest surfer of all time with 11 World Titles and the distinction of being the youngest and oldest World Champion in men's history – is an incredible ambassador for surfing and our nation,” Cruse said. “We look forward to competing in Japan in September as we begin to build momentum for the Olympics in Tokyo next year.”
Based on World Surf League standings following the WSL’s Margaret River event, Team USA’s women surfers invited to pursue Olympic qualification by surfing in the September 2019 ISA World Surfing Games in Japan include Caroline Marks, Courtney Conlogue, and Carissa Moore. After last week’s Oi Rio event, Lakey Peterson has moved up to No. 5 in the world rankings.
John John’s injury and so many U.S. surfers crowded at the top of the rankings are making for a dramatic season.
USA Surfing Medical Director Kevyn Dead added: “This year John showed us that when healthy he is the best surfer on the planet. The enormous disappointment of possibly losing John for the Olympics can’t be overstated. However, of utmost importance is his long-term health and at this point he and his team determined that surgery is the best choice for him. Thank you to John’s team for keeping us informed at every step of his decision making, and for the immediate assistance given by everyone at the USOC."
Contact: Becky Fleischauer 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 Committee (USOC). 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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