To those who follow the X Games phenom Shaun White is a household name. The kid nicknamed “The Flying Tomato” has dominated snowboarding’s halfpipe since he burst on the scene at the age of 13. He is considered the best in the world. At the wise old age of 19, he had added an Olympic gold to his collection.
The usually cool, calm, and collected White was suddenly overcome by the fact that he was really in the Olympics. His seventh place finish was bad by his standards. But, he pulled himself together in the second qualifier.
He must have worked out all the voodoo by the time the event took place Sunday. When White dropped in, he was nothing less than spectacular. Every move was in place and everything was working. You’d have to be better than perfect to beat his run.
Perhaps even more impressive was the way that White handled himself after competition was over. Some of the Xgamers have a little too much attitude and some of Olympians have a little too much arrogance. There was Shaun White with his arms around his family weeping. Later, at the press conference, he spoke candidly and joked with reporters. He came off more as the typical teenage who lives next door than a world class athlete with the world at his feet. It’s refreshing to see such a down to earth display
Snowboarding is fairly new to the Olympics. It debuted in 1998 at Nagano. The IOC has tweaked the events and requirements since then.