Yesterday was a marathon day for Kolohe Andino. After joining NBC's Today show in New York City, he hopped a plane back to California in time to stand center court at a L.A. Lakers home game at the Staples Center.
Celebrating surfing's Olympic debut, Andino was joined by Caroline Marks, coach Brett Simpson and USA Surfing CEO Greg Cruse. With Olympic gold medalists LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Dwight Howard about to take the court, the gravity of the moment was not lost on anyone.
"I am so happy and could not be more excited to compete in Tokyo," said Andino, who guaranteed the U.S. would take home a medal while on the Today show. "I love my country and I always love watching the Olympics."
Marks shared a similar sentiment, remarking, "I'm super honored to represent my country and share it with my family and friends. I'm excited for surfing's fan base to expand and bring more attention to the WSL and to the sport."
For Cruse, who's tirelessly built America's Olympic surfing program from the ground up, he reckoned his squad to be much like basketball's original 'Dream Team', which propelled the popularity of basketball into the stratosphere. The U.S. will be represented by Andino, Marks, as well as World Champions Carissa Moore and John John Florence.
"Carissa, Caroline, Kolohe and John will be the pioneers in surfing's Olympic movement. I'm looking forward to having them experience all the exposure, resources, history and inspiration of the world's biggest sporting stage," said Cruse.
"The United States fielded an absolute dream team of surfers. I am so proud of these word-class athletes and excited about what they will bring to surfing's first Olympics," he continued. "It will be fun for the team to interact with the Lakers' hometown crowd in a city that will host the 2028 Olympics, where surfing is expected to be a major highlight of the Games."
The opening ceremonies for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games will be on Friday, July 24, 2020.
"It will be really rad to march in the opening ceremony and to be a part of everything," added Andino.