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Will We See SUP at the Olympics in Paris?

It seems Stand Up Paddle is one step closer to the Olympic Games. In a Facebook Live interview broadcasted from the French National SUP Race Championship happening this weekend in Annecy, Fédération Française de Surf (FFS) Technical Director Serge Lougarot announced today stand-up paddle (SUP) could be included at Paris 2024 following ongoing discussions between ISA president Fernando Aguerre with the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Earlier this week an article from French sports newspaper L’Equipe revealed that the ISA was making considerable progress.

The decision, which has not been made official to date, could be announced later on this year. “We have to be careful and reasonable”, said Serge Lougarot, “we can’t confirm anything at all right now, it’s a project we’re waiting for and working on but nothing is decided yet. We can’t claim victory yet but what is certain is that we need to get prepared for the possibility of the inclusion of Stand Up Paddle as an olympic sport. If this goes ahead, this could mean a very fast change for everyone involved. In France this would mean most likely the designation of an olympic training center, a national coach, physical trainer, a new professional status for the athletes with plenty more responsibilities and financial subventions from the government. Right now we have a training center in Biarritz for our surfers, but, again, nothing is set yet.”

“As to where the event would happen, we  are discussing various possibilities, but the Seine river in Paris would be a fantastic venue for the long distance race. We would be very keen to have a mass event, with the olympic athlete in front and hundreds, perhaps even more than 1000 of amateur paddlers behind”. If that were the case, this would be a very similar format to the Nautic Paddle race, an 11 year old Stand Up Paddle Race competition with the largest attendance in the world which happens precisely in Paris every year on the first weekend of December.

Serge Lougarot also sent a message to the French Organizing Committee, “they should really consider including Stand Up Paddle in the Paris 2024, for the simple reasons that we have some amazing athletes who could bring home many medals!”.

Answering a last question from the interviewer about the possible size of the SUP delegation, Serge Lougarot said that the suggestion of 10 male paddlers and 10 women paddlers had been brought forward.
Last month, the (CAS) Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that both the International Surfing Association and International Canoe Federation could organize Stand Up Paddle events, but that the ISA was from now on the International Federation to stage the sport at Olympic level.

Already two weeks ago, Fernando Aguerre had admitted in an interview with the Portuguese Surfing Federation, that he had had a discussion with the IOC on SUP featuring at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games soon after the CAS decision was made.

“As soon as the CAS decision was rendered, we did not waste any time in having a first discussion with the IOC and the Paris team about the inclusion of Stand Up Paddle in Paris in 2024,” he said.

“This is still an ongoing discussion, but needless to say, and just like with surfing, we will continue to paddle hard […] Our plan is to continue to proactively promote the inclusion of Stand Up Paddle in the Olympic programme, but also in all the other major multi-sport games under the patronage of the IOC,” he said.
“SUP has already been confirmed on the programme of the next Pan American Games in 2023 and the Asian Beach Games in 2021.”