Idaho Native to Compete For Olympic Gold Tonight
After Monday night's halfpipe prelims, most people were talking about Shaun White's statement second run that affirmed that he was back and better than ever.
After failing to defend his gold medal in Sochi, the 31 year-old four time Olympian has something to prove. The 2012 Sochi games were notorious not just for poor conditions for spectators (unfinished hotels, yellow water, toilets without piping) but for competitors as well. White was among the athletes to criticize the halfpipe that was built with the wrong grade and a bumpy bottom, but didn't blame it for him failing to medal. After all, all the athletes had to ride the same pipe.
So he set his sights on Peyonchang and the road to the games wasn't easy. Search YouTube for the crash and you'll find video of it. I can't bring myself to watch it again because it was so scary. During a training run in October, White's board caught the edge of pipe and sent him face first into the hard snow, splattering blood everywhere. He ended up with 62 stitches and doctors trying to fix the tip of his tongue. About four months after the crash, he tells NBC that he feels more alive than ever. That was evident Monday evening when he posted a huge 98.5 score in qualifying. The unheard of qualifying score certainly sets him up to be the favorite in tonight's finals where he could become the first snowboarder to win three Olympic gold medals.
But Hailey native Chase Josey will try to put a chink in the Flying Tomato's armor. Josey is a first time Olympian. His 83.75 score from Monday night's qualifier was good enough to get him into the finals and from what our friends at KTVB tell us, he did it without one of his signature moves that will likely appear during his runs in the final tonight. Josey is proud to represent Idaho in the Olympics and is drawing on fellow Idahoan (and gold medalist) Kaitlyn Farrington's historic performance in Sochi for inspiration.
Run 3 of the finals happens at 5:30 p.m. MT.
Speaking of Farrington, are you wondering why the Wood River Valley native isn't competing in Peyonchang? Unfortunately, Farrington was forced into early retirement. After a crash in 2014, she found out that had a degenerative spine condition and was advised to not compete in snow sports where she'd be leaving the ground. You'll actually be able to hear her as one of the snowboard commentators during NBC's broadcast of the games.