No Olympic medal as Shaun White takes flight for final time

Feb 10, 2022, 12:49 PM | Updated: Feb 11, 2022, 2:53 am
United States' Shaun White waves in the halfpipe course after the men's halfpipe finals at the 2022...

United States' Shaun White waves in the halfpipe course after the men's halfpipe finals at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Friday, Feb. 11, 2022, in Zhangjiakou, China. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

(AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

BEIJING (AP) — Shaun White’s brilliant and transcendent Olympic career is over. It ended with a fall on his final run down the halfpipe, a heartfelt ovation from the crowd and then a tearful farewell to a sport he helped define.

A few mountains away, Mikaela Shiffrin finally made it all the way down the Alpine ski hill, finished ninth in super-G and then expressed relief.

There were no medals Friday for two of the biggest American stars at the Beijing Olympics and different emotions.

Shiffrin could have two more chances to become the first Alpine ski racer from the United States to win three Olympic golds across a career.

White, though, is finished. His fifth and final Olympics ended when he clipped the wall trying to land his second trick of his third run. Knowing it was over, he pulled off his helmet and acknowledged the crowd as he slowly rode the rest of the way down the halfpipe. Trying to win his fourth gold medal, he instead finished fourth.

“I’m not sad,” White said, although he cried a few times, including during an interview with NBC when he struggled to keep his composure.

“I’m proud of what I put down,” White said. “And I can’t help but think if I would have hit the podium in third, I would have wanted second. And if I’d have gotten second, I would’ve wanted first. It’s just the fighter in me, and I’m always hoping for more.”

White came shredding into the Olympics 16 years ago, a teenager from a San Diego suburb nicknamed “The Flying Tomato” because of his shaggy mop of red hair. He won the gold medal at Turin and repeated in 2010 in Vancouver. After finishing fourth in Sochi, he was back on the top of the podium in 2018.

Along the way he became a pop culture crossover.

Now 35 and his hair well-coiffed, White had his legacy on display all around him in the Secret Garden Olympic halfpipe.

“I’m sure every single person who competed today looked up to him for a very long time,” said bronze medalist Jan Scherrer of Switzerland. “It’s a very cool moment.”

The gold medalist, 23-year-old Ayuma Hirano of Japan, was one of them. He proved to be a worthy successor to White with an epic final run that included a trend-setting triple-cork, or three head-over-heels spins while twisting above the pipe, for a score of 96.

“I hoped I could send a message to him by showing my ride to him,” said Hirano, who grew up idolizing White.


Mikaela Shiffrin made it across the finish line of The Rock course on the Alpine hill for the first time in three races in the Beijing Games. She placed ninth in the super-G, well off the pace set by gold medalist Lara Gut-Behrami of Switzerland.

“It’s a really big relief to be here now in the finish, having skied a run well,” Shiffrin said. “I wasn’t skiing safe or anything. But I also did get to the finish and that’s really nice for my heart to know that it’s not totally abandoning everything I thought I knew about the sport.”

Her performance in the super-G came after she crashed out of the giant slalom on Monday and skidded out of the slalom on Wednesday, both races ending just a few seconds after she started. Those were her best events and the ones in which she had won gold medals, the slalom at Sochi in 2014 and the giant slalom four years later at Pyeongchang.

The 26-year-old from Colorado said she had felt emotionally fatigued.

“But when we got out today, I just feel a little bit more settled. A little bit quieter. Trying to keep some calmness and just trying to focus on the task at hand, so I could put my attention where I wanted and ski the hill and the course properly.”

Shiffrin could compete twice more individually in Beijing. She’ll have a few days to practice the downhill and decide if she’ll enter that race on Tuesday.


Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva’s right to compete in the women’s event will be decided at an urgent hearing at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Both the World Anti-Doping Agency and the International Testing Agency — on behalf of the IOC — said Friday they would fight the decision by Russia’s anti-doping agency to allow the 15-year-old Valieva to skate in the competition starting Tuesday. The Russian agency provisionally banned Valieva on Tuesday because she failed a doping test in December. After an appeal, the agency lifted the ban Wednesday.

Valieva is the heavy favorite after setting world-record scores this season and landing the first quad jump by a woman at an Olympics when the Russian athletes competing as ROC, short for Russian Olympic Committee, won the team event Monday. The ROC said it will fight to keep that gold medal.


The U.S. women’s hockey team avoided an upset when it rallied to beat the Czech Republic 4-1 in the quarterfinals. Lee Stecklein scored the go-ahead goal on a shot from the right point 6:49 into the third period for the defending Olympic champions.

The Americans continue to struggle offensively. They needed 59 shots to score their four goals. Hilary Knight had a goal and assist, and Savannah Harmon and Kendall Coyne Schofield also scored.


More AP Olympics: and

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Fan sues Patriots, says they ruined his Brady-signed flag

BOSTON (AP) — The New England Patriots caused irreparable damage to a U.S. flag signed by Tom Brady by improperly displaying it in the team’s hall of fame at Gillette Stadium, the flag’s owner contends in a federal lawsuit. After it had been on display a couple of months, Brady’s signature written in blue Sharpie […]
14 hours ago
Minnesota Twins relief pitcher Jhoan Duran throws to the Chicago White Sox in the ninth inning of a...
Associated Press

MLB velocity, shifts set records; average lowest since 1968

NEW YORK (AP) — Higher velocity and increased shifts led to the major league batting average dropping to .243, its lowest since 1968. Defensive shifts and 100 mph pitches set records this season, contributing to the worrisome offensive decline Major League Baseball is trying to address. When the average dropped this low more than a […]
14 hours ago
FILE - San Jose Sharks' Timo Meier (28) and Nashville Predators' Matt Duchene (95) chase the puck i...
Associated Press

Hertl to lead Sharks against Predators in hometown Prague

PRAGUE (AP) — After the San Jose Sharks missed the NHL playoffs for a third straight season, Tomas Hertl is determined to turn things around. Starting the new season in front of his hometown fans only adds to his motivation. The Sharks and the Nashville Predators will open the regular season with matches on Friday […]
14 hours ago
Trae Young of Atlanta Hawks shoots between Serge Ibaka , left, and Jevon Carter of Milwaukee Bucks ...
Associated Press

Murray has 25 points to lead Hawks past Bucks in Abu Dhabi

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Dejounte Murray scored 25 points in his Atlanta debut and the Hawks beat the Milwaukee Bucks 123-113 on Thursday in the NBA’s first game in the United Arab Emirates and the Arabian Gulf. The teams will play another preseason game on Saturday at Etihad Arena. Giannis Antetokounmpo led […]
2 days ago
A fan holds up a cutout of the head of Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17) duri...
Associated Press

MLB crowds jump from ’21, still below pre-pandemic levels

PHOENIX (AP) — Even with the homer heroics of sluggers like Aaron Judge and Albert Pujols, Major League Baseball wasn’t able to coax fans to ballparks at pre-pandemic levels this season, though attendance did jump substantially from the COVID-19 affected campaign in 2021. The 30 MLB teams drew nearly 64.6 million fans for the regular […]
2 days ago
Argentina forward Lionel Messi sits before the team's international friendly soccer match against J...
Associated Press

Lionel Messi says World Cup in Qatar will be his last

BUENOS AIRES (AP) — Lionel Messi has confirmed that the World Cup in Qatar next month will be the last of his career. The 35-year-old Argentina star will play in his fifth World Cup but is still seeking his first title at the showpiece tournament. “There’s some anxiety and nerves at the same time … […]
2 days ago
No Olympic medal as Shaun White takes flight for final time