Today it was reported that the International Olympic Committee will be postponing the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in light of the growing Covid-19 pandemic.
Preempting that decision, over the weekend the International Surfing Association announced that they would be postponing their World Surfing Games, originally slated to take place in El Salvador May 9-17 (it has tentatively been moved to June 5-14).
As this news reverberates throughout the global surfing community, the impact on the sport and its athletes will continue to evolve. Greg Cruse, the CEO of USA Surfing, has released a response to these latest developments.
"The health and safety of our athletes and staff is our first priority. I continue to be in touch with our team and have been on calls with USOPC everyday. I am proud of our athletes' continued focus on their sport and great attitudes in the face of adversity," said Cruse.
It's been reported that the IOC will make their plans for the Olympics known in the next four weeks as they develop a strategy to move forward. In terms of what this means for surfing. Cruse notes that the sport has an advantage over some other sports.
"We have qualified our entire team already through the World Surf League Championship Tour 2019 final rankings and our athletes are still able to surf/train in their local breaks," said Cruse.
"We have reached out to the ISA to ensure that our team will maintain their qualification through the WSL CT 2019 rankings, should the Games be postponed to July 2021. This is the fair and right course, ensuring the least disruption for the surfers," continued Cruse.
"The ISA is still trying to sort out the implications of an unprecedented situation. We respect that these are difficult situations to navigate and new ground for all involved. Surfing offers great practice for staying present and focused on the variables we can control. These are necessary skills in this whole new world."
There are approximately 10 unfilled spots for Olympic surfers. They will be filled via the results of the ISA World Surfing Games, when it takes place.
"If there is a country that could re-organize and work out the logistics of a postponement, it is Japan," added Cruse. "They have been running through many different scenarios and logistical options. I think we will be impressed with the resolution being worked out."