Andino had finished in the top seven in the WSL season-ending standings three times from 2016 to 2019, when he reached the final stop, Pipe Masters in Hawaii, with a shot at the title. He finished ninth in the competition and fifth in the season.
But by then he already knew he had become the first American to qualify for the Olympics. He watched Florence and Kelly Slater fight for the other place. Florence understood this.
Essentials of the Summer Olympics
Then the 2020 season was scuttled and Andino and Florence were injured in early 2021. Andino suffered a sprained ankle in March, in his first event of the year. Florence was ranked third in the world in May when he injured his knee and underwent surgery.
Andino and Florence did not get back into the water until June. Weeks later, the combination of the unknown venue, the expected small waves and the limited number of competitors left the competition for the medals wide open.
“It’s such a strange and competitive surfing,” said Kolohe Andino. “You could be the best surfer, the most talked about surfer, whatever, and you go out there and you just need a score and you can’t find a wave. It’s like Tom Brady had to go down the field for the winning score and he couldn’t find the ball. “
On the women’s side, Moore and Marks are strong contenders for the medals. The French Johanne Defay and the Australians Sally Fitzgibbons and Stephanie Gilmore are among the others.
In men, the Brazilians Gabriel Medina and Italo Ferreira are the last two world champions and entered in July in the ranking nos. 1-2 in the world ranking. Japanese Kanoa Igarashi, born and raised in California to Japanese parents, is one of those who could upset them. Due to the narrow scope, however, which was primarily defined in 2019, five of the top 10 surfers in the world rankings will not compete in the Olympics, opening up opportunities for some lesser-known names.