Italo Ferreira's story and road at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics

The Brazilian claimed surfing's first ever men's Olympic gold medal in emphatic fashion, breaking a board along the way.


Italo Ferreira doesn't do things in halves. Surfing is no exception .

The Brazilian went to Tokyo 2020 on a quest for gold and was prepared to do whatever it took to get it.

At 27 years of age, Ferreira is both the reigning World Surf League (WSL) surfing champion and the Olympic Champion.

The son of a fisherman who's come from humble beginnings is building quite an impressive resume and trophy cabinet.

He's robust, agile, athletic and fiercely competitive.

And even when he broke his board a few minutes into the first ever Olympic final heat - he calmly took a new board from the beach, paddled back out and continued the job at hand, defeating Japan's very own Kanoa Igarashi, to clinch gold.

Little fazes the Brazilian who is becoming 'the man to beat' whenever he is in the water.

Italo Ferreira: Tokyo 2020

There's no question Ferreira went into surfing's inaugural Olympic competition as a hot favourite.

Despite concerns about what kind of conditions would be on hand at Tsurigasaki beach in Chiba, there was never any doubt about what the Brazilian was capable of.

As an aerial specialist, his ability to move above the lip of the wave and fly into the air with speed whilst spinning has been his trademark in recent years. This style of surfing was expected to suit the smaller Tokyo conditions and that's exactly what unfolded.

In the quarter-finals he overcame Japan's Ohhara Hiroto by scoring a near-perfect 9.73 ride out of 10 for an impressive 540-degrees air reverse.

After defeating Australia's Owen Wright in the semis, Ferreira met Kanoa Igarashi in the final.

With a typhoon rolling through, the final day of the competition kicked off with big, clean waves, but the conditions were made choppy thanks to a strong onshore breeze.

The inconsistent waves were challenging, especially when Ferreira lost time needing to come to shore to change boards after his first board broke on his first ride of the final.

His confidence was unwavering though and after paddling back out, he got back to business and secured a total 15.4 score. It was enough to take the gold over Igarashi who finished the final on 6.60. Wright took bronze.

"I think it's one of the best days of my life, for sure. For me that was a long day and it was a dream come true, for sure. The last couple of months I've been training a lot, just to live in this moment. " Italo Ferreira after his gold medal win.

What's next for Italo Ferreira

From Tokyo to Mexico, this surfing machine does not stop - especially when there's a world title to defend.

As soon as his Olympic mission was over her returned home Baía Formosa in Northern Brazil.

After short celebrations he was back on a plane and surfing in the World Surfing League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT) in Barra de La Cruz.

Despite being knocked out in the quarters by fellow Brazilian Mateus Herdy, Ferreira qualified for the WSL's new Finals Day competition between September 9-17, meaning he and four of the other best male surfers in the world will compete for the world title over the course of one day in a winner-take-all event.

After a season of accumulating points and ratings around the world, the world title comes down to a single day at Lower Trestles in California.

Italo might be the 2019 world champion but two-time world champion and fellow Brazilian Gabriel Medina is sure to put up a fight, as will Filipe Toledo and USA's Conner Coffin. Meanwhile in his first year on the world, Australia's Morgan Cibilic has made a name for himself as the fifth and final male to qualify for the new finals day competition.

On top of his Olympics success, Italo won the Newcastle Cup back in April of this year. He'll need to bring his best and some in order to defend his 2019 world title.

But after all, you don't just become Olympic and world champ by chance.

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