KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia — Following his disappointing fourth-place finish, snowboarder Shaun White met with the media Tuesday, discussing the surprising halfpipe results, the controversial course conditions and his future in the sport.
“It’s a bummer,” he said about Tuesday’s competition. “I had a gameplan, I had a specific run I wanted to land. I didn’t get to put that down. That’s one of the most frustrating things for me. If I land my run and I’m beat, I’m okay with that. I definitely didn’t get that chance tonight.”
The iconic snowboarder already has two gold medals in the event and said he doesn’t think missing the medal podium will have a big impact on his legacy in the sport.
“I don’t really think tonight makes or breaks my career,” he said. “I’ve been snowboarding for so long and I love it. It’s given me so much. I’m happy to take this for what it is and move on, continue to ride and put my best foot forward. I would always like to be remembered as more than a snowboarder. I have so much going on in my life and this is one big part of who I am. But it’s not all that I am.”
Evolving sports of the Winter Olympics
White was disappointed with the pipe conditions throughout the week and said it impacted his preparation for the Olympics. He’d previously pulled out of the slopestyle event, saying he wasn’t pleased with the condition of that course.
“It definitely affected my practice,” he said of the Sochi pipe. “The tough one was showing up and hoping for three days of practice. I think me pulling out of slopestyle, that was a strategic move in a way. …The slopestyle course had some issues and I felt my best bet was to focus on the halfpipe. And the halfpipe had some issues. Thankfully, they pulled it off and made a great pipe for tonight. It was still rough around the edges, but it was night and day from where it was.”
“To be honest, I woke up this morning not knowing if I was going to be able to land one run,” he said, noting that course conditions prevented him for launching some of the tricks he’d hoped would be his ticket to the medal podium.
“I didn’t really get to break out everything, which is really frustrating. Tricks are still in my pocket.”
But he was careful not to use the conditions as an excuse. He acknowledged that “everybody was in the same boat.”
“We’re all on an even playing field and those guys had a good night,” he said. “I give them props for navigating the halfpipe. I know a lot of people had a hard time.”
He made no mention of the 2018 Olympics, and while he clearly has some more riding in front of him, White said he’s also looking forward to some time off the snowboard.
“It wasn’t my night, which is really tough to say,” he said. “It was a big night. I’m okay with it. …I’m a bit older now; I know where I need to improve. I know where to go from here – that’s on tour with the band. I need a little break from snowboarding for awhile.”