People on social media can’t get enough of silver medalist Japanese surfer Kanoa Igarashi

Kanoa Igarashi

Surfer Kanoa Igarashi won a silver medal at the semi-finals for Japan on Tuesday, prompting many social media users to “simp” over the Olympian throughout this week. 

What happened: On Tuesday, Igarashi, 23, competed in the men’s surfing event at Tsurigasaki Surfing Beach in Chiba Prefecture, according to the Japan Times

  • Igarashi was up against Brazilian Gabriel Medina who is a double world champion and has won 16 times on the WSL Championship Tour. 
  • However, Igarashi was able to get ahead of Medina to receive a total score of 17.00 while Medina received a score of 16.76, putting Igarashi at second and Medina at fourth.
  • Igarashi tweeted “Cry, cry. I’m happy!” in Portuguese, bringing Brazilian critics to his Twitter.
  • He soon apologized on Twitter saying, in Portuguese, “I always have the utmost respect for other competitors, but I don’t have the patience for people who like to talk bad about something I don’t have control over. I did my best and that’s it,” according to Beach Grit
  • After Igarashi’s event, many social media users took to TikTok and Twitter to show their appreciation for the surfer. 

Who he is: Igarashi is a Japanese American from Huntington Beach, Calif., born to Japanese immigrants, according to an interview done by the Red Bulletin.

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  • He first became interested in surfing when he saw a yellow surfboard in a shop during a family vacation to Hawaii. 
  • “The board was $720–a lot of money for a family that was barely getting by on a Hawaiian vacation,” he says during his interview, “I had no idea how much it cost, but I loved yellow at the time.” 
  • While he remembers that his parents had said no, they went back the next day to buy the surfboard for the future Olympian. 
  • Igarashi recalls what it was like to grow up as a Japanese American in Southern California, “Growing up in Huntington, I always stood out, because I was Japanese–I was different… But surfing was the thing that put that racism aside and brought my world together.” 
  • In 2019, Igarashi announced that he was going to surf for Japan instead of the U.S. at the 2020 Olympics, which brought some controversy on whether he was trying to take a shortcut or not, the Red Bulletin reported. 
  • However, by the end of the year, it was clear that his ranking would have made him qualified for the U.S. team. 

Reactions to Igarashi: Social media reacted to Igarashi’s looks during his surfing event, with many people “simping” over the Japanese American Olympian. 

@lavenderyejiI said what I said #kanoaigarashi #fypシ #2020olympics #olympics #medalist #foryou #olympicmedalist #lavenderyeji @kanoaigarashi♬ Woman – Doja Cat

@lolalahasurfing is my passion #olympics #olympics2020 #kanoaigarashi♬ original sound

@fatasswhitegirl♬ luxurious – cy

Featured Image via Kanoa Igarashi and @jennamorford

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