At 49, the 11-time world champion can replace John John Florence and Kolohe Andino who are injured
The sixth stage of World Surfing Tour starts this Friday, the 18th, at the Surf Ranch, located in Lemoore, California. The wave pool designed and built by Kelly Slater will put the best athletes in the sport in action in the last competition before the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. But two important absences, of John John Florence e Kolohe Andino, both qualified for the Olympics to represent the USA, question their presence in Japan, when surfing will make its debut on the program. Both come from recent surgeries and race against time to recover in time. At the moment, the official information is that they will be physically able to compete in the Tokyo-2020 Games. In case one can’t go, the immediate reserve is Kelly Slater, 49, considered the greatest surfer of all time and 11 times world champion. Even for being a big name in the sport, speculations are big in this period that is just over a month before the Olympics.
Slater has been shying away from talking about the possibility of representing the United States at the Tokyo-2020 Games. He is very good friends with John John Florence, who injured his left knee on the Margaret River stage in Australia, and ended up undergoing surgery on May 12th. He’s been recovering and doing muscle strengthening, but he hasn’t come back to catch waves yet. Kolohe Andino was left out of the four stages this year in Australia because of an injury to his right ankle. He had a sprain in February in Hawaii and it got worse. He had to undergo surgery and since then he has been recovering with physical therapy. According to Kevyn Dean, medical director of the US surfing federation, the two have been through similar situations and have a history of recovering quickly. “I talked to Dr. Warren Kramer, who is an expert on this subject, and he told me that they are able to be ready in time and surf well in the Olympics,” he said.
*With information from Estadão Content