After a series of underdogs stole the show at the beginning of surfing’s historic Olympic debut, two of the sport’s most seasoned superstars took home the gold medals.
Carissa Moore of the United States and Italo Ferreira of Brazil became the first Olympic surfing champions on Tuesday, more than a century after the sport first tried to get on the program.
The 28-year-old Moore, the darling child prodigy who could beat the boys and grew up to be the youngest world champion surfer, preserved after struggling in the early heats.
“It’s been a crazy couple of days,” Moore said. “A little bit of a rollercoaster of emotions just trying to figure out the break, find my rhythm, learning how to trust myself without my family here.”
The relatively modest beach break conditions were so unlike the world class waves she’s used to as a veteran of the professional tour and at home in Hawaii.
By the end, the methodical and well-loved surfer finally got in rhythm with the ocean in time to deliver the kind of standout performance that has defined her career.
The picture-perfect ending even included a rainbow that popped into the sky as Moore, who is the only Native Hawaiian surfer at the Games, shredded waves in the final against South African rival Bianca Buitendag.—AFP