It’s Valentine’s Day, and I’m in love.
Last night Shaun White won his third Olympic gold medal in dramatic fashion, landing trick combinations he had never before done in competition in order to beat Ayumu Hirano on the last run of the day. It was an intense competition and a dramatic comeback for the sport’s greatest athlete four years after failing to medal in Sochi and four months after getting 64 stitches in his face from an accident in New Zealand.
White won the competition with a run that included back-to-back 1440s and back-to-back 1260s. For perspective, he won his first gold medal by being the first athlete to ever land back-to-back 1080s, a feat that wouldn’t get you past the qualifying round today. It’s a testament to the 31 year old that he has kept pace with the ambition of the much younger competitors around him who are constantly pushing the envelope. And maybe the game will pass him up. Maybe Shaun White will retire on top and finally let someone else win something. Even if he does, the US already has its next snowboarding idol on deck, with 17 year old Chloe Kim casually dominating the field on the way to a gold medal in this her first Olympics.
The Olympics are flawed, the Winter Olympics are particularly flawed, and Shaun White is flawed. (Spoiler on that last link: Slate is angry that NBC made an Olympic event about one American athlete’s story, meaning that Slate had never before seen the Olympics.) But I love sports and I love the Winter Olympics and last night was as dramatic a sporting event as I’ve ever witnessed.
No #WednesdayTrendsday today, sorry everyone. Happy Valentine’s Day, y’all. You’re the ones I love, but please don’t tell my wife.