Surfing legend Kelly Slater won?t compete at Tokyo Olympics


LOS ANGELES, California: Surfing legend Kelly Slater, seen by many as the greatest of all time, won’t be competing at the Tokyo Olympics.

The 47-year-old American was edged for a spot on the US squad for the sport’s Olympic debut next July, with John John Florence returning from knee surgery to edge Slater for the final spot at an event in Hawaii on Thursday.

Slater, an 11-time world champion who became the youngest and oldest to win the crown, inspired a generation of surfing stars with videos of his amazing efforts becoming must-see viewing for fans and competitors.

Competing as an Olympian would have been an epic farewell for a 40-year career that began at age eight in a youth event but instead he will be watching the event.

“I’m going to enjoy it as a spectator,” Slater told the New York Times, dismissing any notion he would end his career early after missing out on the Olympics. “Be sure that in 2020, they will continue to see me at the top of a wave,” he added.

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