American two-time world surfing champion John John Florence is confident his latest knee injury won’t derail his Olympic dream.

The 28-year-old announced on Saturday he was withdrawing from the remainder of the World Surf League event at Margaret River and the follow-up event at Rottnest Island.

“Unfortunately, I hurt my left knee on the end section of a wave during my round-16 heat two days ago,” Florence said.

“I was able to surf the rest of my heat, just kind of feeling it out, but I knew something was off.”

The 2016 and 2017 world champion, Florence’s 2018 and 2019 seasons were both wrecked by knee injuries including a ruptured ACL in June 2019 in Brazil.

The Hawaiian doesn’t believe his injury is as serious this time and still hopes to compete in Tokyo in late July where surfing is making its Olympic Games debut.

“It’s not the same knee I dealt with last year so that’s good, but with the Olympics coming up this summer I’m going to focus on healing up and getting strong,” he said.

If Florence is unable to compete at the Olympics, his place will be taken by the next eligible American surfer, which would be legendary 11-time world champion Kelly Slater.

The two-time defending champion at Margaret River, Florence had reached the quarter-finals before his withdrawal and is currently ranked No.3 in the world.



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