KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) — Shaun White says he’s antsy about his upcoming chance to make history on the halfpipe and, in a shoutout to his fans, thanks them for supporting his decisions.
In a pair of videos shot Monday and provided to The Associated Press, White addresses his fans directly in one and speaks about his experience in Russia in the other.
“I go up and down,” White says. “I’m excited, then I’m not excited because I’m, not nervous, but just kind of antsy. And it builds and snowballs into other things, and it’s just a lot of mixed feelings rolled up into one. It’s the day before the big day.”
The halfpipe contest is today, and White could become the seventh athlete to win three straight golds in an individual Winter Olympics sport.
He makes a passing reference to his late call to pull out of the slopestyle contest — a decision that sparked criticism in some circles.
“You’re the best,” he tells the fans. “You support me through the decisions I make, the training regimen. You show up to the contests. You watch it on TV, and I feel it. ... I want to do my best, not only for myself but for you guys. Wish me luck and here we go.”
White’s parents and his brother and sister are with him in the mountains above Sochi and he said that’s made a big difference in the hectic lead-up to his big day at the Olympics.
“That’s what makes me a normal person at the end of the day,” he says. “They don’t care what happens. They don’t care what the media has to say or other riders have to say, or anything about anything. It’s just family.”
White would be the first U.S. man to win three straight gold medals at a Winter Games and would join speed skater Bonnie Blair as only the second American overall.
It’s been a rough few days of training for White. First, he tackled the slopestyle course and decided to pull out of the event. Then, he headed over to the halfpipe, which has been heavily criticized for a number of problems — too steep on the sides, bad snow, bumpy on the bottom.
After training Monday, White said: “It’s nothing we haven’t dealt with before at competitions. It’s just hard when it’s the Olympics.”