he reigning world champion beat Japan’s Kanoa Igarashi in the men’s gold medal match to secure a historic gold.
On a day that began with eight men aspiring to win the first-ever gold medal, Italo Ferreira has been crowned Olympic champion.
The current world champion can now add Olympic gold to his impressive trophy cabinet after scoring 15.4 in the gold medal match following three days of thrilling competition at Japan’s Tsurigasaki Surfing Beach. After recovering from a broken board on his first run, the 27-year-old was in irrepressible form, surging ahead of Japan’s silver medallist Igarashi who finished the final on 6.60.
The hugely popular Brazilian – who has over one million Instagram followers – can now celebrate winning the ultimate prize in sport: the first-ever Olympic surfing title.
Earlier in the day, Australia’s Owen Wright won the bronze medal, defeating Brazi’s two-time world champion, Gabriel Medina.
Wright, who famously has a wingspan four inches longer than Michael Phelps, has made a remarkable comeback to surfing.
His career almost ended in 2015 by a traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a big wave impact. He now wears a helmet in certain conditions and has become an advocate for surfing safety and wearing helmets to protect one’s head. He spoke about his life post-injury and coming back to professional surfing on our Olympic Channel podcast.
Kanoa Igarashi relishing Tokyo 2020 pressure – and medal experience02:28
Japan’s Kanoa Igarashi has the weight of a nation on his shoulders but the diligent surfer seems to be enjoying it. “Every day becomes a little bit more pressure packed,” he tell us. “I have plenty more years left after this year to sleep in. Put the foot down and grit your teeth.”