TOKYO, Aug. 8 (Reuters) – They came, they surfed, they conquered.
As the Olympics were engaged in an endless battle to stay relevant in a market where attention spans are increasingly limited, surfing has come to the Games and has thrilled and won over in equal measure.
As the rest of Japan feared a typhoon would gather off the coast, surfers at Tsurigasaki Beach scrambled, attacking the waves with abandon as they seized the opportunity to show the world what it is. is their sport.
The sober knee-deep waves of the competition’s opening day gave way to boiling seas as the face-to-face began and surfers, men and women alike, sought to find the strongest waves. and achieve their best tricks.
Brazilian Italo Ferreira led the charge by winning the sport’s first Olympic gold medal for Brazil, his muscle power and control punctuated by jaw-dropping aerial antics that impressed judges and new viewers alike.
Carissa Moore’s laid-back Hawaiian demeanor belied a fierce competitive spirit that saw her crowned the first women’s Olympic champion as the sport finally made its Games debut ahead of IOC President Thomas Bach.
“You have dreams, and you have plans, then you have results, and I think the results have exceeded our expectations,” International Surfing Association president Fernando Aguerre told Reuters.
Bach was present during the awarding of the medals and Aguerre said the President was impressed with the sport, the comradeship of the competitors and the value they brought to the Olympics.
This eco-friendly sport is also helping to attract an audience that events like dressage and fencing struggle to reach, and Aguerre aims to use the success of the Tokyo Games to expand the sport’s participation in Paris 2024.
âMy family, we are humble – but we are ambitious,â Aguerre said. In Japan, it was a winning combination.
Reporting by Philip O’Connor; Editing by Himani Sarkar
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