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Veteran superstar wins gold in surfing’s Olympic debut


Ichinomiya, Japan — A series of underdogs stole the show at the start of surfing’s historic Olympic debut, with two of the sport’s most experienced superstars winning gold medals.

Carissa Moore of the United States and Italo Ferreira of Brazil became Olympic surfing champions for the first time on Tuesday, when the sport tried to get into the program for the first time.

Moore, 28, the lovable kid prodigy who grew up to be the youngest world champion surfer who could beat the boys, preserved after struggling in the opening heat.

Moore said, “It’s been a crazy two days. A little bit of a rollercoaster of emotions trying to figure out the break, find my rhythm, learn to trust myself without my family here.”

Calling it “divine intervention”, 17th-ranked Buettendag won the silver medal after staring at some of the competition’s biggest moments on her way to the Olympic podium, upset by a three-day competition.

Then she said that she is retiring from the sport.

“I thought it was the perfect opportunity to close,” said 27-year-old Buytendag. “I’m ready for the next season of my life.”

When the clock ran out in the men’s final, Ferreira turned to the sea, dropped his hands together in prayer and cried, almost being knocked over by the waves crashing on the shore as he made a dominating performance in the opening competition. thanked.

“I broke my good board on my first wave. That board gives me good speed, the second is more slow,” said 27-year-old Ferreira. “It’s very tough out there, but I knew there were a lot of opportunities around.”

Both Moore and Ferreira will be back on the World Surf League tour next month, stopping in Oaxaca, Mexico and Tahupo, Tahiti. The famous French Polynesia Reef Break also happens to be the site of the 2024 Olympic Surfing Competition.

Igarashi, the silver medalist who surfed a career-best wind that sent him flying over the water for seven seconds earlier in the heat, couldn’t hide his disappointment that he didn’t top the final moments of his Olympic journey. Came.

This home-ground advantage also helped in the women’s event, as 20-year-old Amuro Tsuzuki of Japan also earned a bronze medal by winning the heat against Caroline Marks of the United States.

Australia’s Owen Wright also won the bronze medal when he made an extraordinary comeback to beat top-ranked surfer Gabriel Medina.

In 2015, Wright suffered a traumatic brain injury after being hit by a wave in Hawaii. The accident left him fighting for his life but he returned to surfing, learning to walk and talk again.

“I’ve been through some bloody battles, and all my close friends and family stood by me and coming from that, it was my goal to stand here with a medal around my neck,” Wright said.

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More AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2020-tokyo-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

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