Sharing the stoke of Olympic inclusion

Published on August 8th, 2021

Sailing has been an Olympic sport since the first Games in 1896, and the value of its inclusion is often debated. Being an Olympic sport can bring complexity but also a platform to leverage.

As the International Olympic Committee seeks to evolve, Sailing will present a dynamic competition program at Paris 2024 to better position itself among the new sports introduced at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics such as skateboarding, surfing, and sport climbing.

Fernando Aguerre, president of the International Surfing Association, offered his assessment for insidethegames. Here’s an excerpt:

More than 25 years ago, I dreamt that surfing could one day be in the Olympic Games. In 2015, after years of hard paddling to catch the elusive Olympic Wave, it started to feel very viable. And now, I write about the reality of witnessing surfing’s Olympic debut in Tokyo.

Fernando Aguerre

It was incredible to be able to share with the world our amazing sport and to have seen the best surfers on the planet take to the waves of Ichinomiya competing for Olympic gold.

The arrival of surfing into the Games, came after an amazing chain reaction that included one of the earliest typhoons in recent history in Japan. It brought the right waves in the first three days of our eight-day window for our competition.

I’m humbled by our success in the Games. The last few weeks have been the most momentous time in the history of our sport and I am immensely proud of what we at the International Surfing Association (ISA) and the surfing community as a whole have achieved.

I am so happy that the world now has seen the amazing values that surfing brings to the Olympic Movement, including healthy lifestyle, respect for the ocean, and care for the environment, all within the youth culture of the action sports. And I’m especially stoked to see surfing bring its dynamic energy to the Olympic Games.

We came to the Games to add value, and bring a younger, social media savvy demographic. We were happy to end in great surfing and weather conditions.

We intentionally finished the competitions with the women’s gold medal match, as our way to confirm our total commitment to gender equality. We even had a rainbow come out 10 minutes before the final horn sounded.

These have been such difficult times, but together we showed the world our immense resilience to overcome hardship and move forward with the Games.

Tokyo 2020 detailsRace informationResultsHow to watch

Race schedule was staggered for the ten sailing events from July 25 to August 4.

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Sailing Program
Men’s One Person Dinghy – ILCA 7
Women’s One Person Dinghy – ILCA 6
Men’s Two Person Dinghy – 470
Women’s Two Person Dinghy – 470
Men’s Skiff – 49er
Women’s Skiff – 49erFx
Men’s One Person Dinghy Heavy – Finn
Men’s Windsurfing – RS:X
Women’s Windsurfing – RS:X
Mixed Multihull – Nacra 17

Original dates: July 24 to August 9, 2020
Revised dates: July 23 to August 8, 2021

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