Gabriel Medina needed to take a break from his career to take care of his mental health. This was the surfer’s main justification for having given up competing in the two stages in Hawaii that open the World Surf League (WSL). The athlete went through a year 2021 of ups and downs. His name was involved in controversies and had to deal with family problems. In addition, he overcame the pressure to leave the Tokyo Olympics without a medal and won the third world championship. Understand the moment he is living and the decision not to travel to Hawaii to start defending the current world title.
Understand the emotional turmoil that took Medina away from the World Surfing Championship
Breakup with stepfather
Although the problem was not made public at first, Gabriel Medina was in crisis with his family since his marriage to model and influencer Yasmin Brunet. The union between the two took place in a discreet ceremony on the couple’s trip to Hawaii for New Year’s Eve 2021, without the support and knowledge of Medina’s family. Evidence of the strained relationship was when in February of last year, Gabriel and Yasmin stopped following their mother and stepfather on social media. On the other hand, Simone and Charles also stopped following their son and daughter-in-law’s publications. Soon after, Gabriel broke off professional relationships with his stepfather Charles Saldanha, who had acted as his coach and mentor since the beginning of his career. Medina hired a new coach, Andy King, who went on to accompany in competitions alongside Yasmin. Gabriel also stopped following family members on social media. At the time, the athlete’s mother even classified Gabriel’s relationship with Yasmin as “controlling”.
The change in food
Gabriel’s relationship with Yasmin also brought another change to the athlete’s life. Medina cut red meat and chicken from his diet. The athlete claimed that he chose to cut out food after seeing “many documentaries and having more information about the meat process”. Gabriel stressed several times that he felt that the new diet helped him in the sport. And the wife supported the change. In winning the third championship, Medina highlighted that the change in food was one of the reasons for the great phase.
Medina arrives with Yasmin at Guarulhos airport — Photo: Erica Hideshima
Just before the Tokyo Olympics, Gabriel Medina was involved in a major controversy with the Brazilian Olympic Committee (COB). The athlete made the request to the entity to take his wife, Yasmin Brunet, to the Olympics, but his request was denied. The COB’s argument claimed that athletes could only bring escorts who were their coaches or involved with the sport. Medina even tried to argue claiming that Yasmin was part of his staff in all competitions, but the couple was not allowed to go to Tokyo together. The influencer used her social media to demonstrate her discontent with the situation she characterized as “injustice”. Medina ended up not winning a medal in Tokyo.
Tokyo’s controversial result
Best moments: Gabriel Medina is defeated by Kanoa Igarashi in the final stretch of the heat
Medina went to the Tokyo Games as one of the gold medal favorites. The surfer reached the semifinals without any problems and there was hope for a Brazilian double on the podium, as Italo Ferreira was classified for the semifinals of the other bracket. However, Gabriel Medina lost his semifinal to Kanoa Igarashi in a controversial decision. By applying an aerial in the competition, Igarashi managed to overtake the Brazilian at the end with a note considered unfair by many. Medina then went to the bronze medal match, where he was defeated by Australian Owen Wright.
Pinned with Letícia Bufoni
Another controversy also marked Gabriel’s Olympic day-to-day. The surfer and his wife pinned the skater Letícia Bufoni after she shared on her social media a fan joke with Yasmin and Gabriel. In the post, an internet user said that Yasmin would be jealous that Bruno Fratus, from swimming, was able to hug and kiss his wife, who is also his coach, after winning the bronze medal. The surfer and the influencer called Letícia a “biscuit maker”, that is, who wants to attract attention on social networks. The skater claimed that the athlete and his wife “didn’t know how to play”. It is worth remembering that Gabriel and Letícia once considered themselves best friends, but lost their friendship over time.
In August, the surfer was once again in the spotlight after running the risk of missing a WSL stage for not having been vaccinated. Gabriel could not compete in Teahupoo, Tahiti, as he was not immunized. When asked by the public, Gabriel stated that he had made a mistake and that he had not been able to reconcile vaccination with his training schedule. The stage ended up not happening due to the increase in cases of Covid. Gabriel has already publicly disclosed that he is vaccinated and took the vaccine during his vacation.
The legal battle with the mother
In September, Gabriel Medina had to make a legal reconciliation with his mother. With the fight, the athlete stopped transferring a monthly amount to Simone that corresponded to his participation in the Gabriel Medina Sports Institute. With the decision in court, Gabriel transferred the Institute building to his mother’s name. The Institute was dismantled, and Simone put the building up for sale for 10 million reais.
Gabriel Medina beats Filipe Toledo and becomes three-time surfing world champion
Even in such a troubled year, Medina had the greatest achievement of his career: the third world surfing championship. The athlete won in Trestles, California, and fulfilled a childhood dream of being a three-time champion. Medina beat Filipe Toledo in the final and was thrilled with the achievement. He thanked the support of his fans on his social networks, and vented.
– Life is very crazy, sometimes it is difficult to understand certain things that are happening. But I believe that everything has a reason. And yesterday was a day that many of my questions in my head were answered and made sense. It’s the process. Living, learning and evolving. This walk has been fun. – commented the athlete on his social networks.
The rapprochement with the father
Toward the end of the year, Medina reconnected with his father Claudio Ferreira. Gabriel spent Christmas with his father and brother Felipe in Brazil. The surfer published photos of the family party on his social networks. The younger sister, Sophia Medina, posted a photo that said the family – she, Simone and Charles – were in Hawaii spending the holidays.
Gabriel Medina had not spent Christmas with his biological father, Cláudio Ferreira, for 20 years.
The abandonment of the Hawaii stages
Gabriel Medina confirmed that he will not compete in Hawaii, where the first two stages of this season of the World Surfing Tour (WSL) will take place, starting on January 29th. The athlete claimed that he needs to preserve his mental health and his body, after a hip injury. Three-time world champion said he had reached his limit to make the “hardest decision of his life”.
Breno Dines explains the situation of Gabriel Medina, who announced a break to take care of mental health