Australia's Owen Wright claims first-ever Olympic surfing medal

Posted at 1:42 AM, Jul 27, 2021

Australian surfer Owen Wright edged out Brazil's Gabriel Medina in the men's surfing bronze medal match at the Tokyo Olympics, securing the first medal in Olympic surfing history. Wright, who sustained a brain injury on a wipeout in 2015 and had to relearn to surf, celebrated the win enthusiastically on the beach. 

In Olympic surfing, each wave that a surfer rides is evaluated by a panel of five judges on a scale of 0.1 to 10.0. The highest and lowest of the five scores are discarded. The surfer’s score is the average of the three remaining marks. Each surfer’s two best scoring waves are added together to determine their heat total (out of a possible 20 points).

Wright, 31, scored a 6.50 on his first wave and 5.47 on his fourth, combining for a match score of 11.97. Medina scored a 5.43 on his third wave and a 5.77 on his eighth and final wave, combining for an 11.77. 

American Kolohe Andino was eliminated by Japan's Kanoa Igarashi in the quarterfinals. Igarashi is set to face Brazil's Italo Ferreira in the gold medal match. 

American Caroline Marks was upset by Japan's Amuro Tsuzuki in the women's bronze medal match, 6.80 to 4.26. Marks, after blazing through the first few rounds with sky-high scores, topped out as a 2.33 on her first wave. 

The U.S. women are still guaranteed a medal, however, as Carissa Moore is set to compete in the gold medal match against South Africa's Bianca Buitendag.