What the best surfers in the world think about surfing in the Olympics

It may only be 2017, but the world’s top competitive surfing professionals are getting pretty antsy for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

A group of them expressed as much recently during some downtime at the Oi Rio Pro in Brazil.

In a press release sent out by the World Surf League, even more surfers talked about their adoration for surfing being part of the Olympics in 2020. Despite a completely lack of details on the structure and format, how qualifying will work and what competitive surfing in the Olympics will really look like, excitement levels are high.

Here is what they all had to say about it.

John Florence

John Florence at the Oi Rio Pro. Photo: Courtesy of Daniel Smorigo/World Surf League

“It’ll be super exciting to attend the Olympics. It’s one of the biggest sporting events of all time. Being able to attend and take in the other events, learn from those athletes, it’s a great opportunity. I’d love to represent my country in 2020.”

Stephanie Gilmore

Stephanie Gilmore at a press conference in Brazil. Photo: Courtesy of Damien Poullenot/WSL

“When I was a young girl, I wanted to go to the Olympics. I watched Cathy Freeman in a Gold Medal in the 200 and that was so inspiring to me. I wanted to go to the Olympics to throw a javelin or discus or anything really, but now I’ve got the opportunity for surfing. Hopefully I make the team.”

Jordy Smith

Jordy Smith among the masses in Brazil. Photo: Courtesy of Daniel Smorigo/WSL

“Being here in Brazil a year after the Olympics and surfing in the Olympics is great for the sport. I didn't think it would happen in my lifetime. I hope surfing puts its best foot forward and we can pull it off. It wouldn’t be a true Olympic Game without the world’s best surfers there. It has to have the best and that’s what makes the Gold special.”

Courtney Conlogue

Courtney Conlogue at the Oi Rio Pro. Photo: Courtesy of Damnien Poullenot/WSL

“Honestly, I think it’s a make or break — having the best athletes in the Olympics. We’ve been waiting so long and we’ve been patient for surfing to get a shot in the Olympics. To do it right is crucial to showcase surfing for what it is.”

Gabriel Medina

Gabriel Medina before paddling out for a heat at the Oi Rio Pro. Photo: Courtesy of Damien Poullenot/WSL

“It would mean a lot to me, to be a part of the Olympics in Japan in 2020. Still a long time to go. I don’t know how it’s going to be but hopefully I can represent my country. That would be my dream. It’s really important to have a good wave and the best surfers. Hopefully we get great waves and showcase surfing to the world in the best possible way.”

Kanoa Igarashi

Kanoa Igarashi giving an interview at the Oi Rio Pro. Photo: Courtesy of Damien Poullenot/WSL

“The Olympics is one of the biggest things to happen to surfing as a community. It’s an amazing opportunity for the sport. Surfing is very much celebrated in Japan and I think the 2020 Games will be a great opportunity for the world’s best surfers to represent their countries and showcase the culture.”

Mick Fanning

Mick Fanning in Brazil. Photo: Courtesy of Daniel Smorigo/WSL

“I think it’s great. Surfing is such a global sport these days. People from all parts of the world are surfing and if they haven't got water, they’re trying to find it. I think it's going to be really exciting to see how they put it together. It’s going to be awesome to watch the younger guys go for Gold medals. I’ll be sitting in the armchair with pom-poms cheering for Australia.”

More about surfing in the Olympics

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Kelly Slater seems skeptical of current plans for Olympic surfing

Mick Fanning hopes to coach Australian Olympic surfing team