World-class surfer and reality TV star Laura Crane is confident her sport will make a big splash at Tokyo 2020 when it makes its Olympic debut.
Surfing is one of five new sports set to make their bow at the biggest sporting event on the globe next year, along with skateboarding, karate, sport climbing and baseball/softball.
The inclusion of surfing is part of a drive to broaden the appeal of the Olympics with the introduction of more youthful and vibrant activities to the programme.
And with just one year to go until Tokyo 2020 gets underway, 24-year-old Crane insisted it was about time surfing was recognised by the International Olympic Committee.
“It’s incredible surfing will be at the Olympics, it’s crazy it hasn’t happened sooner, but it’s going to be amazing to see surfing get the credibility it rightly deserves,” she said.
“I think it will definitely get more people to try it as it’s seen more as a real sport. I think a lot of people think, ‘I’m not going to into surfing because you can’t be a professional athlete’.
“It’s really incredible for the sport and it’s such an amazing sport for people to get into for what it can offer in other aspects of life so I hope we see a massive rise in interest.
“Surfing in the Olympics has been on the cards for a while but there is always a lot of politics in these things.”
Crane had already represented the UK all over the world prior to surfing being included in the Olympics, making a name for herself in the sport before entering Love Island last year.
But while she will not be bidding for Team GB selection this time around, the two-time British champion has not ruled out attempting to achieve Olympic glory in the future.
“I think it’s a case of never say never but this next Olympics is probably too soon. I’ve competed for so many years, since I was 12, and traveled nine months of the year non-stop,” she said.
“I think it got to a point where I needed a bit more stability and the travelling is madness but I’m so happy I got to do that until the age of like 23, but never say never.”
Crane was also keen to highlight the impact that surfing’s Games debut could have on the sport in the long as the nation prepares to come together once again to get behind Team GB in Tokyo.
“There are so many sports that are not seen as real sports because they are not involved in the Olympics but now skateboarding, surfing, climbing have been included,” she said.
“You put in the same amount of training, you wake up at the crack of dawn and do your strength and conditioning, heat training, your fitness and everything else.
“People are seeing them as real sports and it’s amazing. I think it’s crazy that it’s taken this long but I’m really excited to see these new sports as part of Tokyo 2020.
“We’re so excited and while some are saying there are surfers who don’t think it should it should be in the Olympics, all the competitive surfers I’ve spoken to about it are excited.
“The UK is going through its ups and downs at the moment but the Olympics is always something we as a country support so well and Tokyo 2020 is going to be bigger and better."
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