Hawaii has a notable history in the Summer Olympic Games, namely via Oahu’s favorite son – Duke Kahanamoku. The Godfather of Surfing made his name in the Olympics in 100m freestyle swimming over a century before the Sport of Kings (surfing) would be included in the quadrennial event. Duke brought 3 gold and 2 silver medals back to Hawaii over a span of three Olympic Games. He began his Olympic campaign in 1912 in Stockholm and ended it in 1924 in Paris. Fast forward to 2021, and we find the world asking, is there Hawaii representation in Tokyo? There is, and our shot at gold looks pretty darn good.
State of Hawaii Athletes to Watch in the 2020-21 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo Japan
John John Florence | Surfing
North Shore Oahu local, John John Florence (JJF), is representing Hawaii (and by default, the USA) in Surfing, which as alluded to above has been included in the Olympics for the very first time. A year ago we would have called JJF a shoe-in for the gold medal, but he is coming off of a knee injury and subsequent surgery which will limit his chances in waves that most likely require aerial acrobatics. Still, JJF does the state proud, and he may indeed surprise us all with his super-human ability to recover from injury which he has done before, with a win at the 2020 Pipemasters surf contest on the North Shore.
Carissa Moore | Surfing
Hawaii could not have asked for a better representative than the ever-smiling, uber-talented, and aloha-filled Carissa Moore. The four-time (en route to five) WCT women’s champion is a favorite to win her division, no matter what conditions are like at Chiba beach (outside of Tokyo). Go ‘Riss!
Heimana Reynolds | Skateboarding
Like its saltwater cousin, Skateboarding has been added to the event schedule of the 2021 Summer Olympics. As an action-sport mecca, it’s no surprise that Hawaii has put forth an athlete to rep the islands in this category as well. Honolulu’s Heimana Reynolds has Hawaiian and Tahitian blood running through his veins, so he’s representing more than just Team USA. In 2019, Reynolds won his first major at the Olympic qualifying series event in China, which means that he’s carrying some solid momentum into Tokyo.
Jordyn Barratt | Skateboarding
Jordyn Barratt of Haleiwa Town is joining her men’s division counterpart (Heimana Reynolds) in Olympic Skateboarding. While Jordyn currently resides in Oceanside CA, she continues to wear her allegiance to Hawaii on her sleeve. We hope to see her draped in the Hawaii state flag along with a gold medal on the podium.
Martin Iosefo | Rugby
Wahiawā’s Martin Iosefo intends to bring the pain to whomever gets in his way on the field as he represents Team USA and Hawaii in Rugby. Iosefo scored a whopping three tries at the 2018 USA Sevens tournament to help the U.S. clinch their first ever title on home turf.
Kawika Shoji | Indoor Volleyball
Honolulu’s Kawika Shoji has a pedigree in Indoor Volleyball. His father was the University of Hawaii women’s volleyball coach, where he helped lead the Hawaii Rainbow Wahine to four national titles, and retired with the most wins in NCAA DI women’s volleyball history. Kawika Shoji is honoring that tradition, standing tall as a two-time Olympian (2016, and today) and one-time Olympic medalist after winning the bronze medal in 2016. He intends to bring a Midas touch to 2021 and turn that bronze into gold.
Sakura Kokumai | Karate
Karate is another new entry into the 2020-21 Summer Olympics, and Honolulu’s Sakura Kokumai intends to kick it off with a gold on behalf of Hawaii. She has been a member of the USA Karate National Team since 2007, and claimed a bronze at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
Good luck to all of Hawaii’s athletes at the 2020-21 Summer Olympics in Tokyo! We anticipate many more as we look towards the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, and beyond.