Tokyo Olympics surf results: Owen Wilson semi-final vs. Italo Ferreira

One of the great Olympic fairy tales, about an Australian returning from a horrific accident that nearly killed him, ended in Japan.

Australia won a historic Olympic medal in surfing, with Owen Wright defeating world number 1 Gabriel Medina in a bronze medal match.

It has been a tough race until this point for the 31-year-old who had to start from scratch and relearn how to surf after a horror crush in Hawaii.

Wright emerged victorious from the water on day four of the Tokyo Olympics, becoming the first Australian surfer to finish on the podium.

After his incredible performance, he revealed that it was the announcement of the Tokyo Games that motivated his recovery from a devastating brain injury in 2015.

Wright thanked the Games for being able to secure sponsorships to support his medical treatment, as well as the mental stamina needed to prepare to represent the country.

“It’s a very special thing and I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of surfing, to represent surfing and I really feel like I made Australians proud today,” he said. he declares.

The brain injury he suffered was so bad he almost died, but before it all went wrong in 2015, he was flying high.

At the time, Wright was ranked fifth on the World Surf League Championship circuit. He was aiming for the world title and in one of the best forms of his life.

Months earlier, his name had been written in surfing folklore, as the Culburra Beach boy in NSW surfed not one, but two, perfect 20-point heats to release the Fiji Pro.

At this point, a perfect round had only been done six times in the history of professional surfing and in the span of a few days Wright did it twice.

But as he trained for the final event of the year in Hawaii, an erasure rocked his world.

A wave of over 15 feet shaved him after a series of smaller concussions, but at first it didn’t seem too bad for Wright.

He climbed the beach to the Rip Curl house to take a nap, but soon after was taken to hospital, where the situation turned out to be much more serious than previously thought. . Wright, with brain bleeding and swelling, was forced to withdraw from the 2016 title race and surf completely.

Apparently, at the height of his career, he disappeared from the public eye and started the long road to his recovery.

He told the BBC that at first he did not accept the severity of his injuries and that his family had to organize a response.

“I don’t think I always fully understood the gravity of the situation due to the nature of the injury. I was a little crazy, ”he said.

“If you ask my friends and family, I was trying to surf all the time. They must have taken my surfboards from me. I could barely walk past the house, but still tried to go surfing.

The following year, March 2016, he was cleared to surf again for the first time since wipe-out, but it was anything but smooth sailing.

“I couldn’t get up, so it was a mixture of emotions. I just didn’t know how to get up, ”he told the BBC.

After an incredible recovery and a ton of hard work, he regained his confidence and decided to return to competitions.

Just a year after starting to learn again and 15 months after the horror injury that nearly killed him, Wright won the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast in 2017 – his first competition back on the Tour.

He then finished sixth in consecutive seasons, going from a championship spectator to a title contender just 12 months after coming close to death.

In one of the greatest sports comebacks of all time, Wright put his career firmly back on track.

“It’s a huge testimony for him. Most people probably would have thrown in the towel, but he is relentless in his performance and his health, too, ”Australia Irukandjis coach Bede Durbidge said. the australian.

“It’s a gigantic mountain that he climbed to get to where he is now and I’m sure he will build on it all (at the Olympics).”

Since the injury that nearly cost his career, Wright is now taking extra precautions.

He wears a helmet during training and competitions – which is rare in the sport, but something Wright wants to see become more common.

His family is also incredibly talented.

His wife Kita Alexander is a pop singer-songwriter from Brisbane, whose single “Hotel” was certified 2 × Platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association last year.

The song has now received over 31 million plays on Spotify.

She’s not in Japan to see her husband making Australia proud, but she has posted about him on social media.

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