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Brazil Celebrates Gabriel Medina’s Championship Victory

December 26, 2018, 11:10 AM HST · Updated December 26, 11:10 AM
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Gabriel Medina, the 2018 World Surf League Men’s World Champion arrived in Brazil to a hero’s welcome at the airport in São Paulo, on his 25th birthday.

With the title trophy raised above his head, Medina was greeted by media, fans waving flags, young members from the Gabriel Medina Institute and even a group of percussionists leading the crowd in celebratory chants in Portuguese.

Gabriel Medina, the 2018 World Surf League Men’s World Champion from Brazil, is greeted by crowds in Brazil. Credit: © WSL / Aleko Stergiou.

Following a press conference in downtown São Paulo, Medina commemorated his second World Title and his victory at the Billabong Pipe Masters surrounded by family, friends and celebrities, including superstar soccer player Neymar Junior at a private party.

On Sunday, Medina finally made it to his hometown of Maresias where the Mayor of São Sebastião, Felipe Augusto, prepared a parade which had Medina riding atop a firetruck down the main avenue lined with fans. The parade ended at the town square where Medina took to the stage with his family to address the audience there to honor the newly crowned champion.

2018 WSL Men’s World Champion at homecoming parade in Maresias. Credit: © WSL / Kaique Silva

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“Thank you everyone for coming out, for cheering me on…I’m really at a loss for words, but it feels incredible to be welcomed home like this,” said Medina. “I’m just a kid from Maresias that had big dreams. I’ve worked really hard to achieve my goals and I’m grateful to be living my dream. I have so much gratitude and am thankful to all of you and to each message I received. I have so much love for Maresias and it’s an honor to represent the city and Brazil all over the world.”

Visibly emotional, Medina continued his sentiments about Maresias.

“This is where I’ve always lived. I spend the entire year traveling to contests, but this is where I always return to. It’s where everything started, where I have my friends and family. It’s where I train and surf every day. I remember surfing right in front of this square my entire childhood. Being here and being welcomed like this is so special. It’s a feeling I will never forget,” concluded Medina.

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During Saturday’s press conference, Medina was able to speak to the largest media outlets in Brazil and elaborated on his second WSL World Title. When asked about the difference between his first title in 2014 and his most recent accomplishment, he said:

“I think that everything that was happening in my life in 2014 was just a very new experience. After winning the first title, it seemed like the pressure was gone and I was able to relax and enjoy the moment with my friends and family on some trips we took. This year I looked back on everything I had to do in 2014 to win the title and I knew that I needed to do everything right in Hawaiʻi to become champion in 2018.”

Reflecting on the “Brazilian Storm” and the current state of Brazilians dominating the surf world, Medina said, “The talent level in Brazil is off the charts. We’ve got a third of the athletes on the Championship Tour, we clinched three World Titles and we won nine out of eleven events this year. Each year the Brazilians are surfing better and I feel honored to be part of this group and to have made history in our sport and our country.”

Despite his accomplishments, Medina still has lofty goals set on the horizon.

“This year was extremely important and my goal was to win my second world title. 2019 is going to be just as important. It’s going to be the year we get the chance to qualify for the Olympics in 2020 and my objective since the start of my career is to become a 3-time World Champion. But now it’s time to relax (laughs). I’m thrilled to be home and to be welcomed in Brazil with so much love. It’s been priceless and now I’m going to go have some fun because soon the whole process will be starting over,” saidMedina.

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