Shaun White ends Olympic career with an emotional run at Beijing: 'I wanted more today'
White won his first gold medal at 19 in the 2006 Torino Winter Olympics
It wasn’t how anyone expected Shaun White’s Olympic career to end.
White, a five-time Olympian and three-time gold medalist, was emotional when he reached the bottom of the course after placing fourth in the men’ halfpipe final on Friday, knowing that this would be his last ride at the Olympics in a sport where he wrote the script for success.
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"I just want to thank everyone for watching," the tearful American said in an interview with NBC after the event. "Everyone at home, thank you. Snowboarding, thank you. It's been the love of my life."
"I love you guys, I love you so much," he said to his family, who joined the broadcast from their home in Los Angeles. "I wanted more today, but I’ll take what I can get. I’m proud. I spent my life – thank you."
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White was sitting in fourth after his second run of the day, but on his final attempt he fell on the second of two straight double-cork, 1440-degree jumps after clipping the top deck. He said his leg was "giving out" on him during the run, a harsh reminder that he was no longer the same 19-year-old who won gold at his first Olympic showing in 2006.
White reminisced in interviews after the event, recalling the shock of when he first entered the sport.
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"I had something to prove, and my sport was pretty misunderstood," he said. "Everybody kind of thought I wasn’t really going to amount to much in my lifetime, in my career."
With tears still in his eyes, White received a standing ovation from his competitors.
"Everybody's been asking me what my legacy in this sport has been, and I'm like, ‘You're watching it.'"
The Associated Press contributed to this report.