shaun white gold medal


Shaun White delivers jaw-dropping halfpipe—but controversy clouds Olympic gold

The Olympian downplayed it as 'gossip.'


Ramon Ramirez


Posted on Feb 14, 2018   Updated on May 22, 2021, 12:59 am CDT

Competing in his fourth Winter Olympics on Tuesday and with his back against the wall, Shaun White completed a mind-bending halfpipe run to win his third gold medal, but the glory came amid controversy

White, 31, earned the right to go last in the event based on his score in the qualifying round. That ultimately resulted in a dramatic finale, with White having one last attempt to top 19-year-old Japanese prodigy Ayumu Hirano. To do so, he had to match Hirano’s ridiculous back-to-back 1440s—and then some. White delivered, scoring a near-perfect 97.75.

Here’s his full historic run:


“I watched these guys do amazing runs and it fired me up,” White told the New York Times. His winning run included the same moves that required 62 stitches to heal a gash following a recent practice.

During a press conference after the event, White was asked about a sexual misconduct lawsuit he settled last year. White’s former bandmate Lena Zawaideh says he texted her photos of penises, showed her “hardcore porn,” insisted she drink vodka, criticized her wardrobe, and stuck his hands down his pants and forced her to smell them—all when she was a teen working for White as his drummer. The lawsuit was settled in May.

When asked in Pyeongchang about it, White wrote it off as “gossip.”

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*First Published: Feb 14, 2018, 8:25 am CST