The first ever surfing Olympic gold medals were won by Carissa Moore and Italo Ferreira.
í. Ferreira Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
Italo Ferreira of Brazil won surfing’s first Olympic gold medal, and Carissa Moore of the United States promptly repeated the feat in the women’s category as the waves crashed into Tsurigasaki Beach.
The magnificent Ferreira, who came to Tokyo between two Brazilian teammates in the top three of the World Surf League rankings (Gabriel Medina and Filipe Toledo), crushed the aspirations of the home crowd by defeating Kanoa Igarashi in the final.
Moore soon left her own mark in Olympic history when she defeated the underdog Bianca Buitendag of South Africa, who had shocked the surfing world by making it all the way to the final.
Wet and windy conditions off the coast of Japan caused organisers to move forward the medal rounds by a day in order to make the most of the larger waves on offer, yet as the day progressed the swell became choppier and clean rides were few and far between.
And in the men’s final, Ferreira showed he was more at ease in the shifting conditions, achieving single wave scores of 7.77 and 7.37 for a total of 15.14.
Igarashi, who was born and raised in Huntington Beach, California, but was surfing on the beach where his father grew up, was visibly disappointed with his final score of 6.60 because he was unable to catch any waves of any significance.
Scenes of Brazilian jubilation as Ferreira was carried up the beach at the end of the match were in sharp contrast to the initial confusion in his camp after he broke his board in half while attempting an aerial on a massive opening wave.
Ferreira was unfazed by the ordeal. He said, “I was really confident.” I’d say, “Let’s get on the beach and get another board, go back and try again” if I smashed one. Which is why I went ahead and did that.
Absolutely one of the Most Memorable days of my Life.
After spending the previous two months training, thinking, and dreaming, it was a relief to finally be able to enjoy myself while surfing and take home the gold. This was the moment when everything started to fall into place.
Four-time WSL champion Moore needed two monster waves in the middle of the final to defeat Buitendag, who had already defeated several formidable opponents to reach the championship match.
The South African, a former world number four, announced that these Olympics would be her last competition, but she still managed to beat seven-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore and defending champion Caroline Marks on route to the final.
However, Moore’s 7.60 and 7.33 scores, for a total of 14.93, were too much for Buitendag to overcome, since their combined score of 8.46 was lower than Moore’s 14.93.
Moore Remarked, “It’s Rather Weighty [the Medal].
The words “proud and honoured” describe how I feel exactly. It has been a whirlwind couple of days as I’ve tried to figure out the break, find my rhythm, and learn to trust myself without my family here.
“I know how very lucky and blessed I am. It’s been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Earlier, Amuro Tsuzuki of Japan beat out 19-year-old wunderkind Marks to take women’s bronze, while Australia’s Owen Wright concluded a miraculous comeback from a devastating head injury with a bronze medal, in the playoff versus Medina.