Olympic Hopefuls in Surfing and Sport Climbing Featured in New Olympic Channel Original Series “Road to Tokyo: The Qualifier Stories”


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MADRID  – Showcasing the dreams of first-time Olympic hopefuls from around the world, the Olympic Channel presents Road to Tokyo: The Qualifier Stories starting with the premiere of its surfing series on Thursday, 17 September and followed by its sport climbing series on Thursday, 1 October. Surfing and sports climbing are scheduled to make their debut on the Olympic Programme at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 now taking place in 2021. All episodes will be available to stream on the IOC’s global Olympic Channel platform which is available subscription-free at olympicchannel.com and its apps for mobile, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV and the Roku platform.

Road to Tokyo: The Qualifier Stories aims to tell the qualification stories of various athletes in a variety of sports as they compete in Olympic qualifiers around the globe. The key qualifier event for each sport is shown through the eyes of the men and women who are attempting to secure an Olympic spot at Tokyo 2020. Each sport in the series will be featured in its own multi-part documentary-style digital series.

Premiering 17 September with seven episodes, Road to Tokyo: Surfing – The Qualifier Stories tells the story of the 2019 ISA World Surfing Games through the eyes of various male and female athletes who competed to earn a qualification spot for Tokyo 2020. The event was also the first time that the world’s top professional and amateur surfers were brought together to compete against each other in the same event.

South African surfer Bianca Buitendag, 26, from Victoria Bay said of the qualifier event: “This competition is probably the most important one of my career. I’ve been competing since the age of ten, so I’ve been competing the majority of my life. And here we are at the qualifications for the Olympic Games. It’s a big opportunity for all of us.”

Professional surfers and Olympic hopefuls featured alongside Buitendag in the series include: Kolohe Andino (USA), Aritz Aranburu (ESP), Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR), Michel Bourez (FRA), Bianca Buitendag (RSA), Leticia Canales (ESP), Ricardo Christie (NZL), Italo Ferreira (BRA), Paige Hareb (NZL), Gabriel Medina (BRA), Carissa Moore (USA), Sofía Mulánovich (PER), Shun Murakami (JPN), Rachel Presti (GER), Kelly Slater (USA), Jordy Smith (RSA) and Rio Waida (INA).

Premiering on 1 October, Road to Tokyo: Sport Climbing – The Qualifier Stories takes place at the 2019 at the IFSC Combined Qualifier event in Toulouse, France. The four-episode series features many of world’s top male and female sport climbing athletes as they compete for an Olympic qualification spot for Tokyo 2020.

Team USA sport climber Nathaniel Coleman, 23, from Salt Lake City, Utah, said of the competition: “It’s giving me this opportunity to push myself to the limit to try to qualify for the Olympics, which is the highest goal that [sport] climbing has ever seen.”

In addition to Coleman, sport climbers who will be featured in the upcoming series include Kyra Condie (USA), Alberto Gines Lopez (ESP), Mia Krampl (SLO), Bassa Mawem (FRA), Adam Ondra (CZE), Lucka Rakovec (SLO), Laura Rogora (ITA) and Aries Susanti Rahayu (INA).

Road to Tokyo: The Qualifier Stories is an Olympic Channel original production.

The International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Olympic Channel provides fans with a dedicated media platform to follow the stories behind the sports and athletes before, during and after the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 taking place in 2021. Through inspirational stories, athlete interviews, breaking news, live events, original programming and exclusive behind-the-scenes content, the Olympic Channel provides comprehensive coverage of the road to Tokyo.

Olympic Channel Episode Guide: Road to Tokyo: Surfing – The Qualifier Stories

Episode 1 – Opening Day 

The world’s top amateur and pro surfers are welcomed to the ISA World Surfing Games in Miyazaki, Japan where they are vying for an Olympic spot in Tokyo 2020. The women’s competition begins.  

Episode 2 – Women’s Early Rounds 

South Africa’s Bianca Buitendag, New Zealand’s Paige Hareb and Germany’s Rachel Presti and many others battle it out on the waves of Miyazaki to stay in the running for an Olympic qualification spot. 

Episode 3 – The Going Gets Tough 

Rookie and veteran surfers including Sallie Fitzgibbons, Caroline Marks, Tatiana Weston-Webb and Courtney Conlogue fight to stay in the game, as the eliminations pile up in the ISA World Surfing Games women’s competition. 

Episode 4 – Tokyo Bound 

The final round of the women’s competition as Peru’s Sofía Mulánovich clinches the title and South Africa’s Bianca Buitendag earns a qualification spot for Tokyo 2020. The men’s competition begins. 

Episode 5 – Men’s Early Rounds 

Description: Indonesia’s Olympic hopeful Rio Waida battles it out on the waves with the world’s best including Jordy Smith, Kolohe Andino, Michel Bourez, Italo Ferreira, Filipe Toledo and Gabriel Medina. 

Episode 6 – Gnarly Waves 

Miyazaki’s changing conditions cause problems for some of the top names. Jordy Smith and Michel Bourez are eliminated while Rio Waida and Morocco’s Olympic hope, Ramzi Boukhiam, stay in the fight. Portugal’s Frederico Morais secures an Olympic spot. 

Episode 7 – Tears and Cheers 

Some Olympic dreams are made and broken on the final day of men’s competition at the ISA World Surfing Games in Miyazaki Japan. 


About Olympic Channel

The Olympic Channel is a multi-platform global media destination where fans can discover, engage and share in the power of sport and the excitement of the Olympic Games all year round. Offering original programming, news, live sports events and highlights, the Olympic Channel provides additional exposure for sports and athletes 24 hours a day, 365 days a year in 12 languages. The Olympic Channel was launched in August 2016 in support of the IOC’s goal, set out in Olympic Agenda 2020, of providing a new way to engage younger generations, fans and new audiences with the Olympic Movement. Founding Partners supporting the Olympic Channel are Worldwide TOP Partners Bridgestone, Toyota and Alibaba. The Olympic Channel is available worldwide at olympicchannel.com, its mobile apps and on Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV and the Roku platform.

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