Records are made to be broken and Shaun White was just the man to do it. The 31-year-old American became the first snowboarder to win three Olympic titles when he beat Japan’s Ayumu Hirano to strike gold in the halfpipe competition.
Known as the “Flying Tomato” because of his flaming red hair, White bounced back from bone-crunching falls in training last year to carve his name into Games history.
“I was so overwhelmed with happiness,” a tearful White, 31, told the media. “I’ve been through so much to get here.”
It was the fourth snowboarding gold for the United States in Pyeongchang after earlier victories from Chloe Kim, Red Gerard and Jamie Anderson.
But, maybe, this one was extra special for White, who needed 62 stitches in his face after suffering a horrific crash in New Zealand in October just weeks after injuring his shoulder.
“Waiting for my final score was awful and amazing at the same time. I knew I did a great ride and I was proud of that and I can walk away with my head high,” he said.
“The final run was the best I’ve ever done in my career and I did it when I had to do it … when the world was watching,” White added.
Boutin hit by social media unrest
From dream to nightmare in a few clicks. Canadian speed skater Kim Boutin’s joy at winning an Olympic bronze medal quickly turned to despair after her social media account was inundated with abuse and threats from angry South Korean fans.
The 23-year-old ended up finishing third after South Korean skater Choi Min-jeong was disqualified for interfering. It should have been one of the happiest days in Boutin’s sporting career.
But instead, she was forced to block her social media account on Wednesday following abuse from angry South Korean fans.
“Congratulations on the dirty medal,” one angry fan wrote. “Did your papa teach you to cheat for the medal.”
“If I find you, you will die,” wrote another online user before Boutin was forced to block her account.
The International Olympic Committee later appealed to fans to “respect” all the athletes competing in South Korea,
“None of us can control social media and the public has the right to say what they want but we would ask anyone to respect the athletes and support their work,” said Mark Adams, an IOC spokesman.
Frenzel makes his a double
Eric Frenzel survived a thrilling last lap to successfully defend the Olympic title he won in Sochi four years ago when he snatched the gold medal in the men’s Nordic combined individual event.
The German endurance skier came home 4.8 seconds ahead of Japan’s Akito Watabe and Austria’s Lukas Klapper after forging clear in the 10-kilometer event.
Olympics blown off course
The winds of change are blowing through the Winter Olympics and causing havoc. Strong gusts postponed or rescheduled major events on Wednesday and damaged temporary structures.
“Nordic combined, the biathlon and Alpine skiing competitions were postponed or delayed due to weather conditions,” the Olympic organizers said in a statement as they rejigged schedule.
– with Reuters and AFP