Celebs and Twitter Go Nuts for Shaun White as He Becomes the 100th USA Winter Olympic Gold Medalist
Snowboarder Shaun White’s record-breaking, gold-medal-winning final run in the men’s halfpipe event on Wednesday morning at the 2018 Winter Olympics left him in tears — along, it seems, with much of Twitter.
“I literally (literally, read this literally) never want to stop watch Shaun White cry for this gold. I would watch it during my wedding and through the birth of my first born child if I could,” wrote one user minutes after his come-from-behind victory as he trailed Japan’s Ayumu Hirano by one point. “TAP INTO THOSE EMOTIONS SHAUNY FEEL WHAT U WANNA FEEL BUDDY.”
Others felt just as moved by White’s weeping reaction to his win.
“Shaun White hugging and crying into his moms shoulder is giving me all the feels as a mama,” M’lady Callahan tweeted, while Clayton Garcia posted: “The pure emotion on Shaun White’s face is why any athlete competes. Wish everyone could get a little taste of that. I love the Olympics.”
Such emotion was even motivational.
“Shaun White hugging is family, crying, and saying ‘I’m so happy! All of that hard work!’ Is extremely inspiring to never give up on your goals,” wrote Dalton Schnabel.
Celebrities, too, joined in on the cheering, with skateboarding legend Tony Hawk congratulating White on “a most legendary performance” and actor Josh Gad saying that White “just took a swig of the most intense pressure in the world and swallowed it like a cup of silky milk. Insane.”
The Houston Texans’ J.J. Watt said White’s “pure emotion” was “what it’s all about. So awesome.”
“I know how much it meant to you and how hard you worked for that last run,” Hawk tweeted. “We are all incredibly proud.”
In an Instagram post, retired soccer star David Beckham shared a photo of White, 31, wrapped in an American flag after his win. “Me and my boys exploded with happiness for not just an amazing athlete but the best person… Congratulations man you officially are the best,” Beckham wrote.
White went into these Games a two-time gold medalist in the halfpipe but was less than six months out from a bloody crash in New Zealand that required 62 stitches in his face. What’s more, his previous showing, in Russia in 2014, had been disappointing and he finished just off the podium in fourth.
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Still, speaking to PEOPLE in Pyeongchang, South Korea, a few days before his competition, White said he could imagine what he needed to do to earn a gold — his third, the only snowboarder in history to have that many; and America’s 100th in all Winter Olympics.
“I’ve had it in my mind of what it would like, and I can visually see myself going through the run and seeing all the people that I know are coming out here at the bottom — like I can just see it,” he said.
“It’s just all about getting there and kind of matching that vision with reality,” he told PEOPLE, “because that’s what’s happened before in the past Olympics. But it would mean the world to me.”
After White’s first-place finish was sealed, Gabe Dahl tweeted: “I just want to feel one tenth of what Shaun White felt immediately after he landed that last trick,” . “You know what you have to do, the world is watching, it all comes down to this, and you just execute it perfectly…”
The 2018 Winter Olympics are airing live on NBC. To learn more, visit teamusa.org.