'Too picky' Gilmore crashes out of Olympic surfing

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2-min read
Australian surfer Stephanie Gilmore in action at the Tokyo Olympics
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Australian seven-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore admitted she had been "too picky" after her dream of winning Olympic surfing's first gold medal ended in a shock defeat on Monday.

Gilmore was bundled out in the third round at the Tokyo Games by unheralded South African Bianca Buitendag -- seeded 17 out of 20 surfers.

Buitendag took the lead at Tsurigasaki Beach by jumping on the first big wave of the contest, and Gilmore was left to rue her decision to let her have it.

"I looked at that wave and I thought, 'it doesn't look that good', so I let her have it and she turned it into a seven. That was the most frustrating thing for me," said Gilmore, one of the favourites for the gold medal.

"There were a lot of waves but maybe not a lot of good ones. But in saying that, I probably got too picky."

Gilmore was joined in an early exit by French world number two Johanne Defay, who lost to Portugal's Yolanda Hopkins.

The two giant-killings opened up the field for American world number one Carissa Moore, who safely came through her contest against Peru's Sofia Mulanovich.

"It was crazy to see some of the top seeds bow out early this morning," said Moore, who named team-mate Caroline Marks as "definitely the one to beat" for the title.

"It just goes to show that these conditions are very tricky."

But Gilmore was left with nothing but regrets after failing in her bid to add the Olympic gold medal to her bulging collection of world titles.

"That was the dream, that was the goal," she said. "If you want to win, you've got to really want it bad.

"That was my mission and I'm super-disappointed that I didn't make it happen, but there's always Paris (2024 Olympics).

Buitendag, who needed to come through the repechage second round to reach the head-to-head knockout stage, was happy to throw caution to the wind.

"I had nothing to lose, absolutely no pressure," said the 1.85-metre (six feet) South African.

"I'm the underdog, coming in as the 17th seed for this event. So it was a really comfortable spot to be in. It takes away all the nerves and pressure. It just seemed to go my way."

The men's competition was set to resume later in the day, with Americans John John Florence and Kolohe Andino going head to head in the pick of the round.

amk/jw

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting