Fernando Aguerre: ready for the waves of Rio de Janeiro, a few hours before the Olympic surfing announcement | Photo: ISA

On August 3, 2016, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) confirmed surfing in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

All IOC members unanimously approved the proposal to include surfing, for the first time in its history, in the Olympic movement.

Fernando Aguerre, president of the International Surfing Association (ISA), fulfilled the dream of Duke Kahanamoku, the father of modern surfing, and of millions of anonymous surfers worldwide.

In 2020, surfers will compete for gold, silver, and bronze medals at Tsurigasaki Beach, Chiba Prefecture, Japan.

The day surfing entered the Olympic movement will remain in the mind and heart of Fernando Aguerre forever. This was how his day started and ended:

"Today is a very special day for us. Here we are in this wonderful place called Barra, in Rio de Janeiro, only 100 meters away from the place where later today we will know if surfing officially becomes an Olympic sport.

When I was elected president of ISA in 1994, we talked about the possibility of approaching the Olympic movement and that maybe, one day, surfing would turn Olympic.

And that's how we began; it's like an endless paddling. You usually paddle between eight and ten seconds to catch a wave, and our paddling for Olympic surfing has a history of at least 22 years.

Fernando Aguerre: the president of the International Surfing Association put his sport in the Olympic Games

In 1995, I came across an old book titled "World of Surfing," by Duke Kahanamoku. Between 1918 and 1920, Duke suggested that surfing should be an Olympic sport, and in 1966, while he was writing this book, he said that maybe one day someone would campaign for surfing to become Olympic, that it was going to be submitted to a vote and that surfing would finally gain Olympic status.

I never imagined this would happen now. And in the year 2014, if someone asked me, 'Will surfing enter the Olympics?' I would tell them, 'I don't know, maybe in 2024, but not in 2020 because the election of the new Olympic sports for Tokyo is over.'

[However] They realized that the Olympic Games program should change to include the sports that represent today's youth.

Maybe today, at 4pm or 5pm, when voting is carried out, we might be included in Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Now, I am going to take some sand from this beach to keep it at ISA office for four years, and on the first day of Olympic surfing, we'll mix both sands, from the place where surfing was accepted and from where it's making its debut at the Olympic Games.

This is a very special moment in the history of the sport and, hopefully, being selected for Tokyo, we'll do what we have to do to stay and inspire, not only surfers but also other people."

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