Does Shaun White have one more trip to the Olympics in him?
"I think so," the American snowboarder told Matt Lauer on Wednesday. (Watch the whole interview here)
White's comments came on NBC's Today and were met by cheers from the fans who surrounded the set in Sochi's Olympic Park. Fresh off the disappointment of Tuesday's fourth-place finish in the halfpipe, White welcomed the support.
"I need everybody now more than ever, so thank you guys," White said.
White would be 31 when the 2018 Winter Olympics take place in Pyeongchang, South Korea and it's not a stretch to believe he'd stick around for one more try. So much of his fame has come through winning gold medals in the 2006 and 2010 Games and in the buildup to Sochi. He'll always have sponorship opportunities, but they undoubtedly remain more valuable if he's associated with the Olympic rings.
Plus, it's not as if he isn't still competitive or able to hang with a younger generation of riders. White's qualifying run score of 95.25 was the highest of Tuesday's competition and would've gone for a gold medal had he been able to repeat it. He just ran into trouble on a rough pipe at the wrong time and wasn't able to pull out his big trick, a frontside triple cork 1440.
"I didn’t make it to that trick, which was even more disappointing," White said on Today. "Normally if I lay down a run and I’m beaten, I’m okay with it. I put my best effort out and that’s okay. This is so disappointing for me because I didn’t get that chance, I didn’t get that opportunity."
White told reporters on the mountain that his immediate plans were to take a little time off from competition and to hit the road with his rock band. He told Lauer on Wednesday that the disappointment of heading home without a medal will stick with him awhile. He said he felt a lot of pressure to win.
"I wish I could say I was a little better," White said. "It's tough. I've dealt with [losing] a lot when i was younger, coming up in the ranks of the sport.
"It feels like old times I guess."
- - - - - - -