Arguably the favorite to win the gold medal at the sport’s inaugural Olympics, the 28-year-old Hawaii native won the Men’s Championship Tour title in 2016 and 2017, making him just the fifth surfer in history to take home back-to-back titles. He’s currently ranked No. 3 in the world.
Like Kolohe, John John has had to overcome several injuries, including a ruptured ACL in 2019, which required surgery and almost took him out of the running to make the Olympics. But John John was able to snag the final spot on the U.S. team in December 2019, just beating out Kelly Slater. The following year, he won Pipe Masters 2020.
But John John suffered another blow, once again requiring surgery—this time on his other knee—in May.
“I woke up to the report from @drwarreng that everything went as well as possible, and the procedure I had will give me the opportunity to surf at full strength sooner than I had hoped,” he wrote on Instagram following the procedure. “Feeling motivated to really know that the Olympics are attainable. I’m excited for this and I’m gonna do everything I can to make it happen!”