Shaun White Stumbles in Return Bid for Snowboard Dominance
Shaun White, the onetime face of Olympic snowboarding, is having a tough ride in his attempt to regain his former glory.
After failing to medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics, the athlete who won every X Games halfpipe competition from 2008 to 2013 landed off the podium again on Thursday, finishing fourth in the Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado – the same disappointing place he landed in Sochi, Russia, reports NBCSports.com.
Gold for the second straight year went to White’s U.S. Olympic teammate Danny Davis. Japanese snowboarder Taku Hiraoka finished second, with Russian-born Swiss snowboarder Iouri Podladtchikov, finished third, behind second-place finisher Taku Hiraoka of Japan.
White – the oldest of the bunch at age 28 – had hoped to regain some of his dominance with his first return to competitive snowboarding after his Olympic setback. But he’s not one to be counted out.
“He wasn’t happy about it,” his coach, Bud Keene, told the Associated Press prior to the X Games competition, discussing White’s Olympic tumble. “Such is the risk you take when you put on a bib and lay it on the line. His career is far from over, athletically. He’s still, hands-down, the best halfpipe rider in the world, and not by a small margin.”
And the two-time Olympic gold medalist remains an international celebrity, a status cemented by his 1.47 million Twitter followers, not to mention the clothing lines and a fallback gig as guitarist in Bad Things, his synthrock band.
“I definitely learned some lessons and definitely feel better off than before, in a way,” he said about his tough 2014 at a news conference going into the X Games. “I think that, for me, it was a learning experience and I’m pumped to be riding still.”
For how much longer, though, is a question people are starting to ask, even if White himself hasn’t answered.
“I guess in my mind, in some way or another, I’ve kind of scratched it off,” he said of his past struggles. “It was a frustrating circumstance for me. In hindsight, you can always look back and question what you did. That was the beauty of being in the hunt of it.”