South African surfer Jordy Smith's dreams of becoming an Olympian have been crushed … for now.
Smith, who was one of the first South Africans to qualify for the Olympics Games in Tokyo later this month, was forced to pull out of the event due to a knee injury. Five weeks ago, the 33-year-old decided to have surgery on his left injury, and that procedure has not sufficiently healed in time, Sascoc announced in a statement on Thursday.
“It was tough to make the decision to withdraw,” Smith said in a Red Bull interview this week.
“I’ve been looking forward to the Olympics for a long time now and my build up was going so well. However, this decision is the only way to ensure I have a long career in professional surfing and reach my ultimate goal of winning the WSL Championship Tour.”
Smith, however, declared that although his participation in Tokyo has now come to an end, that he will endeavour to be selected for Team South Africa at the next iteration of the Games in Paris in 2024, stating: “Rest assured, I’ll be there for the next one."
Smith, ranked seventh in the world, was a medal hopeful for South Africa, even though he would have been at a disadvantage at Shidashita Beach, some 40km outside of Tokyo, due to his height. His departure from the team leaves Bianca Buitendag as the only South African surfer at the event. His spot will be filled by Leo Fioravanti of Italy.
The surfing event is scheduled to take place between July 25 to August 1.