Gov. David Ige honored Olympic gold medalist and Hawaii surfer Carissa Moore in a proclamation ceremony this morning at the governor’s Ceremonial Room inside the state Capitol.
Calling Moore’s win at the Tokyo Olympics “a momentous day not just for the world of surfing but for all of us in the state of Hawaii, (which) as we know is the birthplace of surfing,” Ige lauded her, not only as the youngest-ever world surfing champion, winning her first title at 18 and three more titles since, and the first woman to win an Olympic gold medal, but also for being herself.
He saluted Moore’s “incredibly infectious optimism, (which is) an inspiration and gives us all hope, especially during these challenging times, that when we do what we love with passion, commitment and wholeheartedness, nothing is impossible, nothing is beyond reach.”
When Moore took the podium, she paused to gather her thoughts, breaking into tears through her smile.
“I didn’t know I was going to be up here when I woke up this morning, so I didn’t have any remarks planned, but I’m going to speak from my heart,” she said.
With characteristic humility and warmth, Moore said she was “truly overwhelmed by all the love I’ve been shown,” not just since her Olympic victory but in all the hard work and preparation over “weeks, months and years leading up to this.”
Thanking her ohana and friends and “the community of people in Hawaii that have raised me,” she expressed gratitude for being part of the Olympics and “especially my home—my heart is Hawaii.”
Moore said her inspiration since childhood had been the Olympic swimming gold medalist and trailblazing surfer Duke Kahanamoku, also “a champion human and true ambassador of aloha” who had dreamed of surfing becoming an Olympic sport, and expressed her gratitude, as a Native Hawaiian herself, “to be part of his story.”
She concluded, “I hope I can continue to make you guys proud.”
The governor and first lady Dawn Ige presented Moore with a Hilo maile lei, and a double red carnation lei; lei that Kahanamoku most often wore.
Also in attendance were John De Fries, Hawaii Tourism Authority president and CEO; and Billy Pratt, of the HTA Surfing Advisory Committee.