(Sao Paulo) Brazilian Gabriel Medina, three-time world surfing champion, announced on Monday that he will take a break from competitions to take care of his mental health, and to recover from a hip injury.
Posted at 10:19 p.m.
“I have decided not to go to Hawaii, I will take time to recover physically and mentally,” Medina announced in an Instagram post.
This decision, which he considers one of the “most difficult” of his life, deprives him of the first stages of the World Surf League (WSL), which begin in Hawaii on Saturday.
“I have emotional issues to deal with. I am coming out of a very exhausting few months. Acknowledging and admitting that I am unwell has been a very difficult process, and deciding to take time out to take care of myself may have been the hardest decision I have ever made in my life,” wrote the surfer.
Medina joins several elite athletes who have brought the issue of mental health to the fore, such as American gymnast Simone Biles and Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka.
“Mental health is very important. I need to be 100% mentally (present) to compete again. I will come back stronger,” Medina added.
In 2021, Medina became the world surfing champion for the third time, but he failed to reach the podium of the Tokyo Olympics despite being the favorite.
“At the end of the season, I was completely exhausted. I reached my limit,” confessed the athlete, who also experienced family issues and controversy in a year that was “a roller coaster of emotions,” he described.
The WSL backed the Brazilian’s decision. “The health and safety of our athletes is of paramount importance, and we support Gabriel’s decision to prioritize his well-being,” WSL CEO Erik Logan said in a statement.