Kelly Slater says he would be honored to represent the United States of America in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
The 11-time world surfing champion will be 48 by the time the Olympics begin in Japan, but he believes he can do it if physically fit. Slater is well aware of the courtship between surfing and the Olympic Games.
"It's been talked for years. There's been a lot of lobbying going on with some people in the surf world. I know, as early as 1984, they [officials from the IOC] came down to watch the world championships at Huntington," Kelly Slater tells Graham Bensinger.
"It's interesting for Japan because there's a pretty strong surf culture there actually. But I think a wave pool in Japan makes a lot of sense. You can have exact start times, and you know how to control your field and that kind of thing."
"The summertime in Japan can have really slow surf or no surf. It can be flat for periods of time. It would be interesting if a wave pool was a way to display surfing the first time in the Olympics," adds the Floridian.
Kelly Slater, who recently unveiled the finest artificial wave of all time, believes that a surf pool makes sense in Japan "because when you think about Japan you think about engineering and technology, so it would be interesting if a wave pool would be a way to display surfing for the first time in the Olympics."
"I think if we finally do get into the Olympics and I'm physically fine; if I don't have injuries, and I get chosen by the States to surf in that, it'd be a huge honor. I think, especially at that age, it would be a huge honor. And it would be great for me to say: 'I was on that first one'" concludes Slater.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is expected to confirm surfing in Tokyo 2020 at the 129th IOC Session, in Rio de Janeiro, in August 2016.