Media coverage has been swarming over Shaun White’s loss in his halfpipe competition on Tuesday.
Shaun White, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, received fourth place in an attempt to gain a third consecutive gold medal in the halfpipe.
Headlines read as such:
“Shaun White falls to ‘I-Pod’ in Olympic snowboard stunt,” stated CBS news.
“Shaun White missed his chance to become an Olympic champion,” stated USA today.
“Shaun White is fourth as Swiss wins Halfpipe Gold,” stated New York Times.
White was scheduled to compete in two events: the slopestyle and the halfpipe. However, he withdrew from the slopestyle competition to focus his attention on the halfpipe.
Not only did White receive a 95.25 on his first run in qualifying rounds, but he also finished first, automatically placing himself as a threat in the finals. White fell twice on the first run in the finals, leaving him with a score of 36.00. On his second run, he needed a 92.25 to take third or a 94.75 to receive a gold medal. However, after slipping twice and not performing a clean race, White received a 90.25, elevating his ranking from 11th to 4th place.
Yet his last run was not enough to scoop up even a bronze medal.
White left the Olympics with no medals.
This came as a shock and disappointment as commentators, fans and spectators alike saw his dream escape from his hands.
After the disappointed depictions of the events that happened, many articles would agree that this is perhaps not the end for Shaun White.
The support reporters have given this fallen Olympian is surprising.
“Snowboarding owes more to White than any other person in the world. He mainstreamed the sport, put it on the map, and without him, we aren’t reading stories about people like Sage Kotsenburg and Jamie Anderson,” stated Mike Foss in his article on USA Today’s website.
In Foss’ preliminary article “It’s time for Shaun White to put up or shut up,” he described two ways White would perform. Either White wins the 3rd gold medal, gaining the attention worthy of his hype, or he doesn’t get gold and receives an immense backlash.
What Foss did not expect was that there was not an immense backlash from reporters or fans, but continued criticism from the snowboarding community.
“I don’t know Shaun White personally,” snowboard filmmaker Chris Grenier said. “But he doesn’t give a [expletive] about the snowboarding community. He’s whored himself out where he has a scooter company, and they sell Shaun White shoes at Wal-Mart.”
“The dueling interests of White long had frustrated snowboarders whose love for the sport defines them,” stated Jeff Passon in an article on Yahoo Sports. “White never adopted that sentiment, and it alienated him in a snowboarding community that will freeze out those who don’t embrace the all-for-one, one-for-all ethos.”
Passon continues by stating that White has natural talent and as much as other snowboarders hate it, no one can deny the impact that White has given for the sport.
The fact of the matter is: this is not the end for Shaun White. He has two-Olympic gold medals. He has many skateboarding championships. He is in a band. He owns a mountain. He has a clothing line at Target and his own flavor of stride gum. To say this guy has many talents is an understatement.
White had a set back this Olympics that lost his opportunity to be one of the greats. However, he will always be a champion and fans will still love him.
Chris Chase stated it best in his USA Today article:
“Tuesday’s disappointment does nothing to affect Shaun White’s legacy, nor does his controversial decision to withdraw from the slopestyle event,” stated Chase. “He’s still the greatest snowboarder in the history of the sport and one of the all-time great American Winter Olympians. What the fourth-place finish does is prevent White from reaching that highest tier in the upper echelon, the one reserved for those very rare athletes like Jordan and Phelps who were able to finish their careers seemingly always coming up big when it mattered the most.”