ISA President Explains Why Olympic Organizers Wouldn’t Put The Event On Hold For Carlos Muñoz
Basically, it comes down to waves.
Yesterday, the world rallied around Costa Rica’s Carlos Muñoz.
As a last-second call-up to the Olympic Games, Carlos was in a race against the clock — and Olympic schedule-makers — to arrive in Japan in time to compete. You can read the full story here, but the short of it is that he overcame numerous obstacles to get on a flight path that would see him land in Japan on the night of surfing’s Olympic debut. Carlos’s only hope was that the contest director, Erik Krammer, would stop the event after the non-elimination Round 1 so that he could arrive in time for Round 2 the next day.
Stab made a huge petition on Instagram for the IOC to stop the event, resulting in the largest upwelling of support we’ve seen since Carlos was voted into the Lower Trestles CT in 2014.
Despite this, and after an incredible effort from the surfing world on behalf of Mr. Muñoz, the event continued as scheduled and Carlos missed his Round 2 heat, thus flattening any hopes that he might surf in the Olympics.
This morning, after seasoning our coffee with tears, we received a fairly acceptable rationale from ISA President Fernando Aguerre about why this happened. To paraphrase:
The ISA/IOC desperately want to finish the event on Tuesday. The conditions look the best that day, and afterward, the swell dies off rather quickly. There’s also a severe fog forecast for Wednesday and beyond, which could make the event unwatchable. This would obviously spoil surfing’s Olympic debut, whereas finishing in quality conditions could generate mainstream interest and ensure its future in the Games. Understandable.
In order to finish the event on Tuesday, Fernando said they needed to get through Round 2 yesterday, which unfortunately meant Carlos had to be nixed.
Fernando also mentioned that he’s received hundreds of messages about the Carlos situation. This is great, as it shows the people’s passion for Olympic surfing. However, some of those messages were attacking Fernando directly, which we would like to publicly condemn. Threatening people is lame to begin with, but also, this was by no means just Fernando’s decision. There’s also the IOC, broadcasters like NBC & Channel 7, the contest director, and several others who come together to make decisions about these important topics. So let’s be civil toward ol’ Fernie, yeah?
Fernando also mentioned that he’s talked with Carlos, who understands the situation and will be allowed to join Team Costa Rica to cheer on his remaining team member (Brisa Hennessy) in her upcoming heats. He should have landed in Japan a few hours ago.
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