Shaun White's Bumpy Ride Back to a Top

In White’s world, there is no other forgive for not winning — not a swampy halfpipe or only an off night. His detriment (and that’s what he called it, not a fourth-place finish, and it’s substantially what he would have called a china medal, too) was partial of what encouraged him to try again.

The shred from there in Sochi to here in Pyeongchang, from age 27 to age 31, was both a hardest and a many rewarding. He rebooted by shedding many of a people around him.


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“I got a new PR person, a new manager, a new agency, a earthy therapist,” White said. “I started operative out for a initial time in my life, I’ll admit.”

The time was not but controversy. White was indicted by a former bandmate of creation passionate remarks to her and creation her watch “sexually unfortunate videos,” and reached an undisclosed allotment with her final May.

White declined to plead a box during a news discussion Wednesday afternoon, hours after his bullion award victory.

“I’m here to speak about a Olympics, not gossip,” he said. “I feel like I’ve addressed it.”


White after winning a bullion award during a Turin Games in 2006.

Vincent Laforet for The New York Times

In October, White crashed during use in New Zealand and crushed his face. His blood stained a pipe, and Thomas would not demeanour during him. White pronounced he did not commend himself in a mirror. He indispensable 62 stitches on his face, lips and tongue.

“I totally distant my face,” White pronounced on Wednesday. There were slight scars on his front and his nose.

The collision done him recur his Olympic ambitions. His family reminded him that he had zero some-more to prove. He had bullion medals and copiousness of money.

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“I’m meditative what does this mean?” White said. “We were on such a good path, and it was that loyal doubt of, like: Do we unequivocally wish this? Stepping out on a sleet again means that I’m peaceful to let this occur to myself again. And that’s a large decision.”

He came back. Few were certain how good he could be, given his age, damage and comparatively few competitions. Then he won an eventuality to validate for a group (winning with a 100-point score). He won a qualifiers on Tuesday in what competence now be a second-best halfpipe competition in history, behind a one a subsequent day.


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White suspicion he competence have won it in a initial of 3 rounds, when judges awarded him 94.25 points. He watched Hirano, a china medalist in Sochi and prolonged deliberate an successor apparent to White, take a lead in a second turn with a run that enclosed back-to-back 1440s.

White knew he had to do it, too, even yet he never had, he said.

“You could come adult on any other day, when all these people aren’t here, and ask me to do that, and I’d be terrified,” he said, a singular acknowledgment of fear. “Because there’s no motivation. But when you’ve got a Olympics, and you’ve got a color on a siren and a universe watching, there was no doubt in my mind we was going to do a trick. we only had to land it.”

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