Kolohe Andino celebrated his Olympic victory over fellow Team USA surfer John John Florence by making a throat-slash gesture towards his rival.
Andino, 27, knocked out his fellow American, who is the two-time world champion and was tipped for gold, in their heat on Monday.
And he was not shy in celebrating.
Andino made the throat-slashing gesture just seconds into the 30-minute heat after landing a difficult manoeuvre that powered his upset bid.
“It was like cutting the snake off the head in the first 10 seconds,’’ said Andino, who is from San Clemente, California.
“I was just overwhelmed with emotions and that’s what I ended up doing.’’
After being knocked out of the tournament, Florence said he did not see Andino’s gesture, or the manoeuvre he was so excited about.
“I just heard the score come out,’’ said 28-year-old Florence.
“And so I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh, what did he do?’
“It’s all about the challenge it makes. So you’re in the heat and you’re sitting there and like, ‘OK, I’ve got to do something big.’”
Andino later described going up against Florence as “just really rad and one for the history books”, according to USA Today.
Florence, who is from Hawaii, competed at Tsurigasaki Surfing Beach, 10 weeks after having surgery for a torn ACL in his left knee.
Andino underwent surgery for an ankle injury in March.
In the end he won the heat 14.83 to 11.60 and will take part in quarterfinals on Tuesday.
The surfing competition is taking place around 60 miles away from Tokyo.
It sees 20 men and 20 women competing for the gold medal, with the US some represented by Carissa Moore and Caroline Marks, who both made it through to the quarterfinals.
Both Moore and Florence are from Hawaii, while Andino and Marks are from Southern California.
Before the Olympics, Florence told The Independent how proud he was to be representing Hawaii on the biggest sporting stage.
“When we compete, you’re always kind of representing your home, but it’s not on the scale of the Olympics, where you’re going and representing your country,” he said.
“I haven’t wrapped my mind around it. I’m always trying to represent where I’m from.”
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