Shaun White Wins Third Winter Olympics Gold Medal

White's gold medal in the men's halfpipe proved a champion can become invincible.

Shaun White
Shaun White of United States celebrates after winning the Men's Halfpipe Final at Phoenix Snow Park on February 14, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
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Shaun White won his third Olympic Gold medal last night in PyeongChang. Previously, White said he did not go to the gym. Now, he works out. The tricks he does on the halfpipe are so complicated that it is too dangerous to practice them regularly. He had never landed back-to-back 1,440-degree tricks, and he knew the risk of landing even one. In October last year, he tried to land one 1,440 and the tip of his board nipped the rim of the halfpipe. He slammed his head and the injury was so gruesome that at the bottom of the hill, his coach, J.J. Thomas, couldn’t even look at him. It required 62 stitches to fix. Other snowboarders had to ride around the puddle of his blood, and White says, “It completely separated my face.” But on the Olympic halfpipe, he nailed it.

Leading up to the Sochi Games in 2014, White was snowboarding and running a band, and he says he felt unmotivated and “slightly defeated” before he got to the Games. He came in fourth in Russia. So he hired a new agent, a new public-relations person and started emphasizing fitness to try to re-boot. Meanwhile, Lena Zawaideh, a drummer in his band Bad Things, sued him for sexual harassment, alleging that he “repeatedly sexually harassed her and forced his authoritarian management style on her for over seven years.” When asked about it at the Games, he said he’d rather talk Olympics and not “gossip.” He settled the suit.

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