American surfers Griffin Colapinto and John John Florence feel patriotic ahead of the Olympics: ‘Being a proud American’

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Griffin Colapinto and John John Florence may not be alongside their fellow American Olympians in Paris for the 2024 Summer Olympics, but their pride in representing the country will be on full display in the waters of Tahiti.

The surf competition for men and women will take place in Teahupo’o, Tahiti, French Polynesia. Colapinto and Florence are there with the World Surf League for its final event, and they take note of the swells, waves and everything else in the water, knowing they’ll be competing for Olympic medals later this year.

For Florence, this will be his second appearance at the Olympics representing the United States, after competing in Japan in 2021. He’s not only excited to wear the American flag on his costume again. He is also excited to represent Hawaii, his country which he knows has so much Olympic history.

“I think I’m representing your country and representing the place you’re from – me coming from Hawaii, which is the epicenter of surfing,” he told Fox News Digital why he’s excited ahead of the event Shiseido Tahiti Pro from the WSL.

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Griffin Colapinto of the United States surfs in heat 3 of the round of 16 at the Outerknown Tahiti Pro on August 18, 2022, in Teahupo’o, Tahiti, French Polynesia. (Damien Poullenot/World Surf League)

“And there’s so much history with the Olympics and Hawaii, the fact that ‘The Duke’ (Duke Kahanamoku) is a gold medalist in swimming and sort of the grandfather of surfing. There’s a lot of meaning and a lot of power behind it I definitely love representing the place I come from, the place that raised me and sustained me, from my childhood to where I am today. today.

“Being able to represent Hawaii, the United States and surf for each of them with the biggest waves [in Tahiti]. If it’s really big, it’ll be really cool.”

Colapinto, who ranks No. 1 in the world on the WSL Tour, qualified for his first-ever Olympics last year by finishing second.

US OLYMPIC SURFERS GRIFFIN COLAPINTO AND JOHN JOHN FLORENCE KEEP A CLOSE EYE ON TAHITI SWELL DURING WSL EVENT

The 25-year-old from San Clemente, California, had a simple answer when asked why this honor of surfing for the United States means so much to him.

“To me, it just means being a proud American,” Colapinto explained. “Just being proud of America and coming from a country that has so many great people, a lot of entrepreneurs and people who are creating their own lives. Big dreams and being able to create your own life, that’s what what America stands for So, I’m super proud to be able to represent the United States.

“It’s arguably one of the best countries ever. It’s exciting.”

John John Florence surfs

Two-time WSL champion John John Florence from Hawaii surfs in heat 8 of the round of 16 at the Shiseido Tahiti Pro on August 15, 2023, in Teahupo’o, Tahiti, French Polynesia. (Beatriz Ryder/World Surf League)

Anyone’s first Olympics is bound to be nerve-racking, but when you ask Colapinto how he feels a few months removed from this pressure, he’s as cool as the waves he surfs. That’s because his process of performing on the world’s biggest stages revolves around not putting too much pressure on himself.

“I don’t really put too much pressure on myself with the Olympics,” he said. “It’s just, for me, an opportunity to put the icing on the cake, really.”

Florence admitted his first Olympics were “really scary” as he said people “built it up like it was a larger-than-life event.” While recognizing that representing his country is a major honor, he also knows that he must take a step back and follow his usual routine to ensure he finishes better than ninth place as he did in Japan.

“It’s also just another surf event. That’s the thing I learned the most when I went there. You always surf a 30-minute set,” Florence said. “You’re always surfing against two or three guys in the water with you. I think that’s what I took away from it. I don’t have to think about it too much, and I’m surfing in another event here .Simplify as much as possible.”

Florence also said that while competing was a priority, he loved the “camaraderie” built throughout the weeks leading up to the main event.

Griffin Colapinto and John John Florence side by side

Griffin Colapinto and John John Florence are excited to represent their country at the Olympics this year. (Getty Images)

“Training and things like that, it’s really fun. It builds new relationships,” he said. “Last time I had to do it with Kolohe [Andino]Carissa [Moore] and Caroline [Marks]. With the team we have this year, it’s so fun to hang out with these surfers, getting to know them better. Train, surf and hang out with them.”

Moore and Marks will once again represent the United States in the women’s surfing event.

Florence will not give any advice to Colapinto this week as they are both trying to win the event in Tahiti. But when they return, they will be teammates and ready to achieve great things for their country.

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This greatness has only one color in the eyes of Florence.

“To win the gold medal,” Florence said, smiling.

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