Shaun White shows dignity in unexpected loss

No tears or tantrums from the former halfpipe king


Shaun White watches for his score after his last Halfpipe run earlier this week. He did not make the podium stand.

    Shaun White arrived in Sochi with intentions of taking home two gold medals, but after dropping Slopestyle days before the competition so that he could focus on the Halfpipe competition, a series of poor runs, falls, and slips led to a fourth-place finish, and he found himself leaving empty handed.

    Minutes after the only and most crushing defeat in White’s career, he walked from camera to camera answering questions. The questions were mostly about his defeat; however, White gave the newsmen what he always gives people: reassurance. Interview after interview, his face never wavered from the same expression; he gave the same non-threatening smile, and, more importantly, he made no excuses.

    “I don’t think tonight makes or breaks my career. I’ve been doing this so long. I love it. It’s given me so much that you know I’m happy to take this for what it is and move on and continue to ride,” White said. “I would always like to be remembered as so much more than just a snowboarder. I’ve got so much going on in my life, and this is one big part of who I am, but it isn’t all of who I am.”

    Class and graciousness. In a competition that has multiple athletics complaining vocally about the dangerous Halfpipe conditions in Sochi, White acknowledged them but pointed out they were the same for everyone. He was gracious with the new champion, and while he was obviously crushed by his unexpected defeat, he lay the blame no where except at this own feet and took nothing away from the medalists.

    I a world where losing seems more and more often to be an excuse for tears and temper tantrums, White showed a great deal of restraint. It may not be the same kind of pride as winning an Olympic medal brings, but the fact that he held it together, at least until he was out of the eye of the public and the news cameras, is something he can be proud of.