Sometimes, even if everyone is expecting something to happen, if everyone knows it's going to happen — it's still pretty amazing. And the video of Shaun White's gold medal winning halfpipe run proves exactly why. It's seriously amazing.
The video — and the run itself — is even more amazing when you consider the way White pulled out the final win. In halfpipe the competitors each get three runs through, with only their highest score counting. On his first run, White pulled out a killer score of a jaw-dropping 94.25, which put him in a comfortable first place lead. An easy ride from there, right?
Not so much. On the second run, Japanese snowboarder Ayumu Hirano pulled off an amazing run and snatched away White's lead, pulling in a score of 95.25. White couldn't beat it on the second run — he wiped out halfway through and wasn't able to break past Hirano's score. But then, neither was anyone else. For awhile, it looked like Hirano would take the gold, as snowboarder after snowboarder failed to make the cut, leading up to White, who had the final run.
And then — White made that final run of the event. And it was everything.
Seriously, just watch it for yourself.
I mean, holy guacamole.
White's run was seriously incredible. I know nothing about snowboarding beyond that it looks both cool and dangerous and my mother would have a heart attack if I tried it, but even I can tell that run was impressive.
Apparently the judges (who I'm sure know more about snowboarding) agreed. They awarded White a 97.75, and that was it. It was over. Shaun White had won the gold.
Video of him celebrating after his score was announced is a beautiful sight.
It was a beautiful comeback for White.
White was already one of the most successful Olympic snowboarders, with two gold medals to his name before he even arrived in PyeongChang for the 2018 games. White won his first gold for halfpipe in Turin in 2006, when he was only 19 years old. Four years later he took a second gold in the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games, again for halfpipe. But in the 2014 Games in Sochi, Russia, White missed out on medaling, barely missing the podium to come in fourth.
But in this year's 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Games, White's win made history. The 31 year old is now the first American man to win gold in three different Winter Olympic Games, according to the Associated Press. (Bonnie Blair took gold in speedskating in 1988, 1992, and 1994.)
It's been a good few days for American snowboarders in general.
Just the day before, on Feb. 13 (Korea time), fellow American Chloe Kim took home the gold for the women's snowboarding halfpipe event with an earth-shattering score of 98.25. She played it kind of like White himself, taking a strong lead in the first run with a score of 93.75. The difference there is that no one ever caught up to Kim — she maintained that lead all the way through the event, making her final run, which was also the final run of the event, as a victory lap. But gold medal in hand or not, she didn't hold back, and instead came out with an amazing routine that had everyone gasping.
OK, I'm calling it right now. We need an all White/Kim Olympics, where these two just go against each other. America deserves it. Can snowboarding get scores higher than 100, by the way?
While I'm waiting for someone to organize that, I'll settle for sending my congratulations to White on pulling off an amazing final upset. Enjoy your gold, Shaun! You earned it. Literally.