Photo by troy_williams via Flickr Creative Commons
Carissa Moore, the only Native Hawaiian on Team USA’s roster, earned a gold medal in the first-ever Olympic surfing competition on Tuesday.
Moore is a four-time surfing world champion as well as the youngest champion ever. Now, she adds another pioneering achievement to her resume as the first woman to win gold in the sport.
“I feel super blessed, super fortunate. It’s been an incredible experience,” Moore said, according to NPR. “It’s been a crazy couple of days, a little bit of a rollercoaster of emotions just trying to figure out the break, find my rhythm.”
She also noted that it was a challenge to maintain confidence while her family was unable to attend in person and instead watched from Hawaii.
Moore triumphed with a score of 14.93, out of a maximum 20 points, over South Africa’s Bianca Buitendag, who scored an 8.46. A surfer’s score is the sum of their two best scoring waves. Japan’s Amuro Tsuzuki claimed bronze over American Caroline Marks, NBC News reported.
The finals were moved up from Wednesday thanks to Tropical Storm Nepartak, which created windy conditions and made the waters choppy.
“The conditions were extremely tough today and so it could have gone either way,” Luke Untermann, Moore’s husband, said according to Hawaii News Now.
In the men’s competition, Brazil’s Italo Ferreira won gold despite breaking his surfboard at the beginning of the finals. Kanoa Igarashi of Japan claimed silver, and Australian Owen Wright took the bronze medal.
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