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Canadian Sanoa Olin has confirmed his participation in the Olympic surfing event, and Cody Young will be a reserve

Canadian Sanoa Olin has confirmed his participation in the Olympic surfing event, and Cody Young will be a reserve

Sanoa Olin will represent Canada in surfing at the Paris Olympics this summer with Cody Young as the second reserve in the men's field. Olin, a native of Tofino, British Columbia

Sanoa Olin will represent Canada in surfing at the Paris Olympics this summer with Cody Young as the second reserve in the men's field.

Olin, a native of Tofino, British Columbia, who turns 19 on Tuesday, was already provisionally eligible for the Olympics thanks to her silver medal at last year's Pan American Games in Chile. But she confirmed her place with a 13th-place finish at the ISA World Surfing Games, the final Olympic qualifier that concluded Sunday in Puerto Rico.

The top eight women have booked their tickets to Tahiti, the largest island in French Polynesia, which will host the Olympic surfing event from July 27. But Olin's 13th-place finish in Puerto Rico qualified her regardless of her performance at the Pan Am Games given some qualifications. The women in front of her were already heading to the Olympics.

“She is a championship-level surfer and has the results to prove it,” said Dom Domecq, executive director of Surf Canada. “There are a lot of positive thoughts for her… She is very excited to go to Tahiti.”

The positive for Surf Canada is that a Canadian will be in the Olympic field, which will raise the profile of the sport.

Young also finished tied for 13th but with only Puerto Rico's top six men qualifying for the Olympics, he found himself on the outside looking in as the second reserve in case any of the confirmed athletes had to withdraw due to injury or other reasons.

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Domek said Young will be on site in Tahiti, ready if called upon.

Canada did not have a female surfer at the Tokyo Olympics, which was the sport's first appearance at the Games, although Young came close. The Hawaii-based athlete was called up at the last minute for the Tokyo Games due to the coronavirus-related opening, but was unable to make it to Japan in time to compete.

This time, Young, 24, was knocked out by a French surfer late in the competition.

“He's obviously very disappointed,” Domek said of Young. “It's going to leave some scars… It's a very tough competition on the male side. The depth of talent is very deep and there are fewer (qualifying) spots available, compared to the women's. There are only six spots available. If there were eight spots available,” he would be in them. This shows how close he is to that.

There was also disappointment for 16-year-old Erin Brooks, who was looking forward to qualifying after winning her battle for Canadian citizenship earlier this year.

Brooks was eliminated in the second round by Frenchman Fahini Fierro and then was eliminated in a runoff on Thursday. She finished tied for 49th place.

“You will come out tougher, stronger and better,” Domek said.

Levi Young, Cody's younger brother, was tied for 31st while Wheeler Hasburg was tied for 55th. Mathia Olin, Sanwa's older sister, placed 41st.

Brooks was born in Texas and raised in Hawaii, but has Canadian connections through her American-born father Jeff, a dual US-Canadian citizen, and her grandfather, who was born and raised in Montreal.

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She turned heads by winning silver at the ISA World Surfing Games in El Salvador last June and gold at the ISA World Junior Championships in June 2022.

Brooks' application for Canadian citizenship was initially rejected. But Immigration Minister Mark Miller changed his mind after a ruling by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice last December that it was unconstitutional for Canada to deny automatic citizenship to the children of foreign-born Canadians who grew up abroad.

The Brooks then resubmitted their application under hardship status, at the recommendation of the Immigration Service, to speed up the process.

Brooks was sworn in as a Canadian citizen in January.

Follow @NeilMDavidson on X, formerly known as Twitter.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2024

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

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