Olympic Fever Turns Tati Weston-Webb Into A Brazilian Competitor
Who else will jump flags as we approach Tokyo 2020?
“Tatiana Weston-Webb can easily be mistaken for Daenerys Targaryen, the blonde-haired Mother of Dragons from Game of Thrones,” reads Tati’s bio on the WSL’s website.
Say what you will about the Game of Thrones reference, one person she’s not easily mistaken for is Silvana Lima.
Alas, Olympic fever runs rampant amongst the WSL elite, and Tati is the latest to fly a fresh flag.
“Most folks aren’t aware that my Dad is originally from England and my Mom is originally from Brazil,” explained Tati in a statement released to the press.
“I was approached by the Brazilian Olympic Committee, with an opportunity to represent the country in a major way,” continued Tati.
Emphasis on “major way.”
Tati is now an official member of the Brazilian Storm.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to compete in the Olympics and when surfing was announced as an official Olympic sport, I knew that my dream had a chance of becoming a reality,” said Tati.
Sorry, Silvana, we love the passion, but you just weren’t cutting it. Rather than sticking to homegrown talent, Brazil, as well as Japan, and probably a number of other counties, are going with the quick fix. Because… Gold, honey. It’s all about the gold.
Tati’s camp even ginned up a Wikipedia page to provide some biographical information for the inquisitive and uninformed.
“Tatiana Weston-Webb (born May 9, 1996) is a Brazilian/American surfer from Kauai, Hawaii,” reads the entry.
“Like the would-be leader of the Iron Throne this steely-eyed Hawaiian goofy-footer is fiery, strong, courageous and confident,” confirms the WSL bio.
Hawaiian surf mag Free Surf recently asked her about the subject of who she’d surf for in 2020 if the opportunity arose.
“If I was surfing for Brazil, I’d have to switch my flag sooner than later. I’d really love to surf for America, because I was raised here and it’s what made me a surfer,” answered Tati. “It’s a really complicated question because I really feel half-and-half.”
It’s complicated…until it comes down to lifetime opportunities.
Even the WSL recognizes the path that was plotted for Tati.
“Days after she was born in Brazil [her] mom moved her to [the] Garden Isle so she could have dual citizenship, and the timing couldn’t have been better,” reads her bio on the WSL’s site.
At least that explains why she was draped in a Hawaiian flag instead of the green and yellow when she won her two ISA gold medals for the Islands.
Kanoa Igarashi was the first WSL elite to break U.S. rank and file. Prior to the start of the 2018 WSL season, he announced he would be surfing for Japan.
The fact is, at present, there are only 40 spots (20 men and 20 women) allocated for the Olympic surf competition in 2020.
The U.S. program has made it known in private meetings that it’s looking at John John Florence, Kolohe Andino, Carissa Moore and Courtney Conlogue as their preferred team members at this point in time (although that’s subject to change…yeah Griffin, we’re looking at you).
So, for surfers like Tati and Kanoa, why not leverage the dual citizenship opportunities their parents were smart enough to set them up with? The qualification process for the national programs, the U.S. in particular, is murky at best. And for Tati and Kanoa, switching flags makes plenty of sense if they’re looking to ensure themselves a spot in the historic 2020 Games.
“All spots have to be earned and I’ll be trying my best to qualify as one of the few surfers able to represent their countries in the Olympics,” acknowledges Tati.
We’re unsure if she will be conducting all of her post heat interviews exclusively in Portuguese.
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