The big story of Tuesday's Winter Olympics action was, by far, Shaun White's failure to win a third-straight gold medal in the men's snowboarding halfpipe in Sochi. After pulling out the slopestyle event to focus on his most high-profile challenge of these Olympics, White now leaves the competition without a medal and a diminished aura in the sport. The fourth-place finish serves as a very disappointing outcome for White, who had the chance to break records and become a much greater crossover superstar with another gold in Sochi.
Yet, for all his aspirations as an endorser and media personality, White is still a competitor. In the immediate aftermath of his second run in the halfpipe finals, we saw an athlete who, in the words of NBC's commentators, had reality set in regarding his failure to win a medal. The photos show the disappointment on White's face.
White looked at the scoreboard with little excitement, as well.
But it wasn't all a negative experience for White. While he now has a reputation as little-loved within snowboarding culture, White took the time to congratulate gold medalist and YOLO flip master Iouri Podladtchikov on his win.
It's clear that White was not exactly thrilled at his finish, but this is not the look of a man crushed by ashamed by the failure to win a third-straight gold medal. White is not exactly disconsolate. He remains a two-time Olympic champion, is still the biggest star in America of anyone in Sochi, and has a bright future. It just might not include another piece of Olympic hardware.
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