Newly minted gold-medalist Shaun White held an Olympic victory party at Hollywood’s LAX club Tuesday night, packed with 200 snowboarders, skaters, punk rockers and the young girls who love them – as well as the most special guest of all, silver medalist Sasha Cohen.
The party, sponsored by Burton Snowboards, also marked the first time the winter athletes actually met. “She’s cool, I just wanted to meet her in person,” White, 19, tells PEOPLE, adding that “the media made a big deal” about his having a crush on her. He insists, however, “I think she’s cute, I just really wanted to meet her, that’s all.”
And now that he’s met her: “It’s just cool meeting another athlete. It was rad.”
Cohen, 21, arrived with some friends around 10:30 in a black stretch limo and hung out with White in the VIP lounge before she left at 11:30. “She had something to do tomorrow,” said White, who plans to reunite with Cohen this Sunday for the Esquire Oscar Party, says his rep, Nancy Carlson.
“He was definitely excited to see Sasha tonight,” Carlson says, explaining that the Olympians were too busy to meet in Turin. As for White’s so-called “crush” on Cohen: “He originally made his comments about Sasha off the cuff, and (they) got blown out of proportion.”
Snowboarder White, on his first night back from Italy, says of his own recent whirlwind of events: “Man, I don’t even know where I am right now. It’s hitting me even more now, winning the gold, just walking down the street. People are really proud I won. It’s awesome.”
As for the future: Pro snowboarding looks to be winning over college. He may crack the books when he’s older, he says, “but right now I’ve found what I want to do and just have fun.”