Misses half of heat, borrows board from Filipe Toledo, pulls on a pair of denim shorts, wins.
I don’t think I need to publicly state, again, my ongoing fixation with the Brazilian title contender Italo Ferreira.
(Read my paean to Italo here.)
If you’ve yet to fall under Italo’s spell, his miracle round one heat at the Olympic Qualifier in Miyazaki, Japan, will leave you wide-eyed and thrilled.
The Brazilian Olympic surf team is the most precious of all and the most difficult to get into. Two men and two women only, with Gabriel Medina, Filipe Toledo, Michael Rodrigues, Caio Ibelli, Jadson Andre, Willian Cardoso, Deivid Silva, Peterson Crisanto, Yago Dora, Jesse Mendes, Adriano de Souza, Mateus Hardy, Alex Ribeiro, Miguel Pupo and Ian Gouveia all chasing the two men’s spots.
Silvana Lima and Tati Weston-Webb, likely, will take the two women’s entries.
Now, Italo wants the Olympic gold medallion.
But, four days ago, while in America, Italo was robbed of his passport, which contained his important, difficult-to-get visas for the US. Rather than kick around in the US trying to get a fresh visa, he was told that since he’s got the contest he should fly to Japan on a fresh passport and go to the American consulate there.
Italo jumps a plane on September eight for an appointment the following day at the US consulate in Tokyo. His heat is on the tenth.
Hurricane Doz delays the flight. Italo is stuck on the plane for eighteen hours.
Reschedules meet at US consulate for September 10, the day of the contest.
Meeting goes well, visa approved, means he can surf Freshwater Pro.
Jumps on a plane for the two-hour flight to Miyazaki and his round one heat at the Olympic Qualifier. No time to collect bags and boards.
The contest is delayed one hour so there’s a chance he’ll make his heat in time.
Arrives at contest in Miyazaki.
His twenty-minute heat has nine minutes left. Italo borrows Filipe Toledo’s board. Throws on a pair of denim shorts.
He has last priority. Comboed, obviously.
Goes to town and…wins heat.
“Looking back, I had everything to go wrong with so much going on, but I always had hope until the end,” Italo wrote on IG. “This for me was a story of overcoming… I love surfing and I try my best to perform well. For me, getting here has been a victory. So if you have a problem in your life, DO NOT GIVE UP. BELIEVE! In the end it will be all right, just believe it is possible.”
You got a spot in your ruthless heart for the kid?