White wins gold, slams ‘gossip’ | Shanghai Daily

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February 15, 2018

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White wins gold, slams ‘gossip’

Snowboarding great Shaun White brilliantly won his third Olympic gold but then faced awkward questions over sex harassment claims yesterday, as strong winds caused chaos at the Pyeongchang Winter Games.

White, starting last in the halfpipe, watched bronze medalist Scotty James wipe out before nailing a spectacular last run of the day to snatch victory from Japan’s Ayumu Hirano, celebrating wildly afterwards.

It was redemption for the 31-year-old veteran, known as the “Flying Tomato” because of his red hair, who won gold in 2006 and 2010 and helped put the hipster sport on the map, but flopped in Sochi four years ago.

“Oh man, that was awful and amazing at the same time. I knew I did a great ride and I was proud of that and I could walk away with my head high, but when they announced my score and I’d won, it crippled me,” said the American.

“I was so overwhelmed with happiness, I’ve been through so much to get here.”

It was a landmark win because it brought the United States its 100th Winter Olympics gold stretching back to speedskater Charles Jewtraw in 1924. White, Chloe Kim, Jamie Anderson and Red Gerard have locked up all four snowboarding titles for America so far in Pyeongchang.

However, White’s joy was punctured when he was questioned by reporters over a sex harassment case involving the female former drummer of his band, Bad Things, which he settled out of court last year.

“Honestly, I’m here to talk about the Olympics, not gossip. But I don’t think so,” said White, when asked if the case had tarnished his legacy.

Reporters attempted to follow up about the lawsuit, but US Snowboarding and Freeskiing event director Nick Alexakos shut them down.

White immediately left the stage following the conference while reporters continued to question him.

“I have to get to the medal ceremony,” he said while being ushered away by Alexakos.

While the snowboarding went ahead, it was very different elsewhere as high winds forced organizers to close Gangneung’s Olympic Park to visitors and postpone the women’s slalom skiing and the women’s 15km individual biathlon.

Wind also delayed the Nordic combined normal hill event, before Germany’s Eric Frenzel retained his title.

Jorien ter Mors won the women’s 1,000 meters speedskating gold, extending the Netherlands’ perfect record — five wins from five events — in the competition so far, and Germany’s Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt defended their title in the men’s doubles luge.

Nao Kodaira and Miho Takagi, expecting to finish 1-2 for Japan, had to settle for 2-3 behind ter Mors, who set an Olympic record of 1 minute, 13.56 seconds, after both slumped over the last half lap.

Ter Mors, who won gold in the 1,500 at Sochi four years ago, did not defend that title in South Korea after failing to qualify in the distance due to a persistent knee injury.

In the double luge, Peter Penz and Georg Fischler of Austria took silver ahead of Germany’s bronze-winning pair Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken.

The unified Korean women’s ice hockey team ended its Group B campaign with a 1-4 defeat to Japan, following 0-8 thrashings by Switzerland and Sweden.

The two Koreas, the first joint Korean team of any Olympics, enjoyed deafening home support and scored their first goal of the tournament through Korean-American Randi Griffin in the second period.

It came after North Korea’s Ryom Tae Ok and Kim Ju Sik successfully reached the pairs figure skating final, supported in the stands by their country’s “army of beauties” cheering squad.

“There has been no discomfort and now that we have competed, (we could see) how strong our Korean people can be when we are together,” said Kim, 25.

“We are one people sharing the same bloodline.”

China’s Sui Wenjing and Han Cong, the world champions, are in first place after the pairs short program. Russian skaters Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov were a close second to the Chinese — .71 points behind. Canada’s Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford finished third, ahead of today’s free skate.




 

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