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World champion surfer taking break to focus on 'well-being'

Gabriel Medina
Posted at 5:26 PM, Jan 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-26 19:26:12-05

World champion surfer Gabriel Medina announced he is taking a break from the sport.

"The past few months have been a difficult time for me personally and it has taken a toll," said Medina. "As such, I've decided to withdraw from the start of the 2022 WSL Championship Tour."

The three-time WSL Champion said he had every intention of competing for the full season. He said he got vaccinated against COVID-19 as he prepared to travel to events across the world. However, he said he just doesn't believe he "can perform against the world's best surfers right now."

"I need to focus on my well-being. I don't know how long it will take, but I aim to return to the Championship Tour as soon as I am ready," he said.

Medina is the latest star athlete to step away from the sport they love for personal reasons.

Tennis player Naomi Osaka cited her mental health last year when she withdrew from the French Open and took a break after the U.S. Open.

Simone Biles also withdrew from several events during the Summer Olympics while battling mental health issues.