Sal, Steph, and Jordy all qualify for the Olympics
You'll have to excuse me for not keeping abreast of the qualifying process for the Olympics, I've been scratching my head to make sense of it and figured I'd just broadcast the teams once they were announced and hope no-one asked any questions.
Yet it seems it's not gonna happen like that. Overnight, Steph Gilmore, Sally Fitzgibbon, and Jordy Smith were confirmed as the first surfing Olympians. Fifteen more will follow from the WSL.
Jordy is in because his result at the Quiksilver Pro France assures him of a Top 10 on the CT Rankings and therefore has earned his provisional place to represent South Africa and compete in Tokyo.
Gilmore and Fitzgibbons’ are in because they are guaranteed to finish as one of the top two Australian women on the WSL Rankings and have earned their provisional place to represent Australia and compete in Tokyo.
The following is a press release from Surfing Australia about Sal and Steph's qualification they may clear up the confusion:
CASUARINA/NSW(October 9th/2019): Based on world-class performances in 2019 on the World Surf League (WSL) World Championship Tour (WCT) and competition results so far in the Roxy Pro, currently being held in Hossegor France, both Sally Fitzgibbons and Stephanie Gilmore have secured the WSL ranking requirement for qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
In May 2020, Surfing Australia will consider athletes that have satisfied the Tokyo 2020 Nomination Criteria and will submit to the Australian Olympic Committee for selection.
Both girls have secured an individual WCT event win in 2019 and have been consistent performers throughout the year, which now guarantees they finish inside the Top 8 on the WSL CT Rankings, therefore, earning provisional places to compete in Tokyo.
Surfing makes its Olympic debut in Tokyo in 2020. The 2019 WSL CT, the elite year-long tour that crowns the World Champions each season, has been an important qualification pathway for Australia’s best surfers, along with selection for ‘Team Australia’ at the 2019 and 2020 International Surfing Association (ISA) World Surfing Games.
Kim Crane, Surfing Australia’s National High Performance Director said: “Congratulations to both Sal and Steph for securing their WSL ranking requirement for Olympic nomination, at this point in the year. When the Tokyo Qualification System was released, everyone knew the greatest challenge for athletes was always going to be securing this WSL ranking. The standard of competition on the world stage, is rightly fierce now. In witnessing what it takes to compete consistently at this level over the course of an entire year, both girls are an absolute inspiration. We are so proud of what they do and even more importantly of who they are as the worlds best surfers and people.”
Bede Durbidge, Surfing Australia’s Elite Program Manager and Team Australia Head Coach said: “This is such an exciting time for both Sal and Steph. Much focus has rightly been on their individual CT campaigns this year and in doing so they have kept their Olympic dreams alive. This is a significant milestone for both girls and we acknowledge their ability to consistently deliver world-class performances. With this news and also off the back of the recent ISA World Surfing Games experience, Olympic Games excitement is building. I look forward to supporting both Sal and Steph over the next part of the journey and wish them well for the remaining couple of events on the CT in both Portugal and Hawaii.”