Johanne Defay has punched her ticket to the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris France to represent the host country in the water.
The 2024 Summer Olympic Games are right around the corner. The setting for the 33rd Olympiad will be held in Paris, France. For the second time, surfing will be included in the events to be held. Surfing athletes have been going through the qualifying process and a few have already punched their tickets. Each country will be sending four athletes, two male, and two female. The host country will have the opportunity to send two extras. As for France, they have already lined up one of the best surfers in the world to represent them — Johanne Defay.
Defay is coming off one of her best years ever in the water last year. She made it to the World Surf League Final event and came in third overall for the year. Defay was on hand to represent France at the 2020 Games in Tokyo and placed ninth. Being a part of an Olympic Games is a special experience, but being able to stand in for the hosting city is an honor that Defay is grateful for. She spoke to FanSided exclusively about her upcoming second Olympic appearance.
“It’s insane, I’m super happy. Also, surfing, it’s such a new sport for the Olympics, I feel very lucky to actually have the Olympics in my country. I don’t think it’s happened a lot in you know, a career. So yeah, I feel super lucky, to be able to do that. I hope my family is gonna be here to watch me,” she said. “The surfing will be in Tahiti, so I hope we can surf like the first week and then go into Paris and celebrate and enjoy the rest of the Olympics in Paris.”
While the majority of the Olympians will be competing in Paris and the surrounding areas, the surfers will be heading to the French Polynesian Island of Tahiti. The massive wave known as Teahupoʻo will set the scene for the surfing portion of the Paris Games. Known for its huge barrels the surfing athletes will have their hands full at his dangerous wave break.
Johanne Defay will represent France and her home of Reunion Island at The Paris Games
Although Defay is representing France, she grew up on Réunion Island. It is a French island off the coast of Madagascar, Africa, a long way from “The City of Lights.” Defay knows the experience at Teahupoʻo will be a lot different than the conditions at the Tokyo Olympics and is prepared to get her reps in the year leading up to the Games next summer.
“I think that is the really hard thing about surfing compared to other sports is that you can’t reproduce any wave,” she said. “Like you have to surf an event in Teahupoʻo, there’s no other wave in the world, that’s going to look like that. So it is important to go and spend some time out there and experience it in different ways. Also at the same time, it’s also very far from my home, actually, because I live in Reunion Island. So for example, like American girls are closer than me…So I’m going to try to get a bit of training by the end of the year in Teahupoʻo.”
Despite being qualified for the 2024 Olympic Games already, Defay still has work to do in this WSL season. After suffering an injury earlier in the year, Defay fell behind in the WSL rankings. She was recently awarded a wildcard spot for the rest of the year in hopes of qualifying for the Rip Curl WSL Finals once again.