The 11x World Champ ruffles his feathers and prepares to fly!
But did you ever doubt? Did you ever think quietly to yourself in a dark moment, “11 x World Champion Kelly Slater is too old for the Olympics and won’t be able to qualify anyhow so will have to watch from the grandstands as Kolohe Andino and John John Florence drape themselves in the Stars and Stripes and get put on Wheaties boxes like Dan and Dave…”
Well, I can only assume that shame is washing over you heavily in this very moment. The very moment that 11 x World Champion Kelly Slater takes his first step in an attempted qualification.
Per the ISA rules, each country gets two men surfers and two women surfers and those will be the top two in the World Surf League rankings on both the men’s and women’s sides.
Currently, Kelly Slater sits 8th, officially behind both Kolohe Andino and John John Florence but, recall, John John is currently injured, though continuing to train for the Olympics himself.
That means Kelly Slater is, as of now, the second best American surfer.
Also, per the ISA rules:
“The Surfer must make him or herself available for their respective national team for participation in the 2019 and 2020 ISA World Surfing Games; and (t)he Surfer must accept the nomination of his or her NF to take part, and must actually take part, in any or all of the above ISA World Surfing Games.”
Please don’t ask me why the ISA left the (t) out of (the) in the rules as it’s not important. What is important is the fact that Kelly Slater will be surfing in these World Surfing Games, happening in Miyazaki, Japan this Sept. 7 – 15. His United States of America teammates include Kolohe Andino and Conner Coffin.
The great surfer from Cocoa Beach, Florida is setting himself right up for his Olympic run and you should be excited, as I am, but early this morning I had a better thought.
As you well know, Kelly Slater comes from Syrian stock. Imagine what a powerful statement it would be for the greatest professional of all time to swap nationalities, like Kanoa Igarashi, and go chase gold for the Syrian Arab Republic?
I think it would be the most wonderful story of all. He could bring peace to the Middle East and isn’t that what Kelly has always wanted? To bring peace to the Middle East?
Kelly, if you’re reading think about it. Think about that gold around your neck and that Nobel Peace Prize on your shelf.
A fine bookend to a fine career.