On Tuesday, American Shaun White electrified PyeongChang with a near-perfect run in the snowboard halfpipe final and, for the third time, The Flying Tomato leaves the Olympics with a gold medal on his neck.
At the age of 31, White finds himself at the top of his sport after a disappointing 4th place in Sochi.
Heated by the teenage sensation Ayumu Hirano, Shaun White delivered a flawless performance at the very end of the competition and, for the principal concerned, it was a moment of emotion … especially when we remember the terrifying injury that he suffered earlier this fall.
In fact, Yahoo Sports unveiled footage of the US team’s training in October, in which Shaun White misses a landing in the halfpipe and bangs his head and body against the icy wall.
The violent impact caused White to lose a lot of blood, as evidenced by the stained snow afterward. 62 stitches were required to close the wound at White’s forehead and, in an interview a few weeks later, he confessed that a risk of reopening everything was present due to the fragility of the recent scar.
Despite a moment of doubt, it was out of the question for White to miss the PyeongChang Games.
For a rider of the caliber of White, injuries are not uncommon. Broken bones, concussions, pains, knee problems. But by his own admission, he had never been so visually marked by one of his injuries because of the amount of blood.
Knowing that White had to qualify for the Games a few weeks after this big jitters, that adds to the legend of his feat.
White has been the most dominant rider on the planet for more than a decade and won Olympic gold in 2006, 2010 and again this year, successfully returning from a disappointing fourth-place finish in 2014.
As he rushed into the halfpipe at PyeongChang, the details of a lawsuit filed by a former drummer from White’s rock band, Bad Things, resurfaced on social media. Lena Zawaideh alleges that White harassed her and refused to pay her the salary he owed her after firing her. The lawsuit resulted in an amicable agreement, the details of which were not disclosed in May.
Journalists asked White if the allegations could hurt his reputation.
“I’m here to talk about the Olympics, not gossip and other things,” he said.
The media then mentioned the pursuit, but the director of the American Federation of Snowboarding and Freestyle Skiing, Nick Alexakos, ended the press briefing.