Shaun White produced a jaw-dropping final run on Wednesday to win his third Olympic half pipe title however comments he made about a previous sexual harassment case he was involved in have taken centre stage.
White won Olympic gold in 2006 in Turin and then again in 2010 in Vancouver. However, with one run left in 2014 in Sochi he failed to deliver the goods when a third gold medal lay in waiting.
Few thought he would have a shot at redemption however on Wednesday in Pyeongchang he was faced with exactly the same scenario – one run to win gold. He needed to beat a score of 92.50 set by Japan’s Ayumu Hirano.
Going for broke in the day’s final descent, White held his nerve as he nailed back-to-back 1440 spins to score 97.75 points, edging Hirano.
“It was a deja-vu situation, standing there needing to land a run to win the Olympics and I just couldn’t do it (in Sochi). I was defeated in my mind before I dropped in,” White said afterwards.
“But it’s a rarity you get these opportunities to redeem yourself. I’ve been through so much to get here. I had this crazy injury in New Zealand (in October) where I busted my face open.
“I actually did the same trick that injured me here in the half pipe today. So there were a lot of obstacles to overcome and now it’s all worth it. I don’t know what’s happening. I’m still shaking.”
The biggest headline in Pyeongchang on Wednesday wasn’t White’s triumph though. Instead it was the manner in which he responded to a question from a reporter who asked whether the sexual harassment allegations he faced last year tarnished his legacy.
“Honestly, I’m here to talk about the Olympics, not gossip,” White said.