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Aussie surfer Owen Wright edges closer to Tokyo Olympic Games gold medal years after brain trauma

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Aussie surfer Owen Wright edges closer to the sport’s first Olympic gold medal – five years after a brutal wipeout on a 15-foot wave left him with brain bleeding and unable to WALK

  • Australian surfer Owen Wright on cusp of claiming first ever Olympics gold 
  • The 31-year-old suffered traumatic brain injury wiping out on 15-foot wave 
  • He had bleeding on brain leading to memory loss and could no longer surf
  • Wright came back to win first even back in 2017 and is leading Aus in Tokyo 










Australian surfer Owen Wright is on the cusp of claiming the first ever gold medal for the sport in the Olympic Games – just years after a traumatic brain injury looked to have not only ended his career but see him never surf again.

The 31-year-old from Culburra on the New South Wales south coast has advanced to the semi-finals of the surfing at the Tokyo Games, the first time the sport has featured in the world’s biggest event.

The achievement is made all the more meaningful to Wright, who suffered a brain injury in the lead up to the 2015 Pipeline Masters event on Hawaii’s north shore and could ‘barely walk the length of my house’.

Wright suffered bleeding on the brain as a result of the wipeout on a monster 15-foot wave, leading to memory loss and required full time care.

He made an emotional Instagram post the next year, revealing he had gotten back into the water for the first time but was unable to stand up – reportedly suffering from extreme vertigo.   

‘I went for my first surf a couple days ago. It was the funnest thing in the world. Funny thing is… I couldn’t get to my feet. So I just laid there,’ he captioned the picture in 2016.

Aussie Owen Wright is on the cusp of winning the first ever gold medal for surfing at the Olympic Games (pictured with wife and singer Kita Alexander)

Aussie Owen Wright is on the cusp of winning the first ever gold medal for surfing at the Olympic Games (pictured with wife and singer Kita Alexander)

Wright suffered a brain injury in the lead up to the 2015 Pipeline Masters event on Hawaii's north shore and could 'barely walk the length of my house'

Wright suffered a brain injury in the lead up to the 2015 Pipeline Masters event on Hawaii’s north shore and could ‘barely walk the length of my house’

The 31-year-old from Culburra on the New South Wales south coast has advanced to the semi-finals of the surfing at the Tokyo Games, the first time the sport has been featured

The 31-year-old from Culburra on the New South Wales south coast has advanced to the semi-finals of the surfing at the Tokyo Games, the first time the sport has been featured

‘It was about knee high and the drop was.. well there was none but it felt like I was dropping into 10ft Teahupoo. 

‘I finished the wave and I was so stoked I let out a hoot and claimed it and high fived Kita (his wife).’

Wright, who is currently fifth in the WSL world title rankings, is known for his powerful goofy style, navigating big barrels and pulling off insane aerials.

He is married to Australian singer Kita Alexander and the pair have two young children. 

He won his first even back following the injury, the 2017 Ripcurl Pro at Snapper Rocks, beating best mate Matt Wilkinson in the final.

The ‘long road back’ was complete, but Wright says memories of the incident are still ‘blurry’. 

‘A wave landed on my head and it shook me so hard that then I just kind of lost my senses. It was a long road back from there,’ he told the BBC before the Olympics.

Wright made an emotional Instagram post the year after the incident, revealing he had gotten back into the water for the first time but was unable to stand up

Wright made an emotional Instagram post the year after the incident, revealing he had gotten back into the water for the first time but was unable to stand up

The 31-year-old is married to Australian singer Kita Alexander and the pair have two young children.

The 31-year-old is married to Australian singer Kita Alexander and the pair have two young children.

Wright has knocked out France's barrel king Jeremy Flores and Peru's Lucca Mesinas so far and will face Brazilian star Italo Ferreira in the semis

Wright has knocked out France’s barrel king Jeremy Flores and Peru’s Lucca Mesinas so far and will face Brazilian star Italo Ferreira in the semis

‘It was explained to me that all of it’s still in there, it’s just you’ve got to reconnect those brain patterns.’

He paid tribute to his family and friends for getting him through, to become the lead surfer for Australia’s first Olympic team.

‘If you ask my friends and family, I was trying to surf the whole time. They had to take my surfboards away from me. I could barely walk the length of the house, but I was still trying to go for a surf,’ he said.

Wright has knocked out France’s barrel king Jeremy Flores and Peru’s Lucca Mesinas so far and will face Brazilian star Italo Ferreira in the semis, who produced the ride of the competition so far with a 9.7 in his quarter.

The winner will likely face the world’s best surfer, two-time WSL champion Gabriel Medina, in the final who has eased into his semi.

Wright, who is currently fifth in the WSL world title rankings, is known for his powerful goofy style, navigating big barrels and pulling off insane aerials

Wright, who is currently fifth in the WSL world title rankings, is known for his powerful goofy style, navigating big barrels and pulling off insane aerials

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