Constant Complaining In Sochi Only Hurts the Brand of Shaun White

Shaun White

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When Shaun White dropped out of the slopestyle event at the Sochi 2014 Olympics there were many other riders who blasted him, which I thought was nothing but pure jealousy. Now that White has taken his antics into Sochi and is complaining about the park conditions in the halfpipe event, it is officially time to recognize that the Flying Tomato is whining, and it certainly isn’t helping him out.

This instance of complaining came directly after a training session at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park on Sunday, as White seemed to draw up excuses before reporters could even start to ask a question.

On the conditions of park, White told reporters that,”Today was, uh, not the best,” and then went on to say,”the first day, the walls were a little over-[vertical], so everybody was doing airs, and then landing like pretty flat. Today, they made the walls better so everybody lands [correctly], but in the flat bottom, where they cut it, it’s like a bump, so everyone is riding along and then hits the bump, and that’s really not very good.”

There is no doubting that White was not the only snowboarder that complained about the conditions of the halfpipe, but as the face of snowboarding it looks a bit childish to complain prior to an Olympic event. After all, the Flying Tomato has won seven superpipe gold medals at the X Games, and has also taken home the gold medal from the last two Olympic halfpipe events. To say that he is the premier snowboarder in the world is an understatement, and with endorsements coming from Target, Red Bull and Oakley, amongst others, it can be assured that he is the face of winter sports as a whole.

To have White now complaining about the conditions of the halfpipe would be similar to Michael Jordan complaining about the rim being too high in the NBA or Wayne Gretzky complaining that the goal was too small in the NHL. Simply put, everyone has to deal with the same conditions, and as the cream of the crop you are better off just showing up and outperforming your competition than setting up an excuse for if you don’t win the gold medal.

So if I could give one message to Shaun White it would be this: put up or shut up. We all get that things are not perfect in Sochi, but you are only looking like a man that needs an excuse by first pulling out of an event you could have won and now complaining about the conditions in the event you are supposed to win.

Tyler Leli is a Washington Capitals writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter, “Like” him on Facebook or join his network on Google.


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  • Kyle Opperman

    Okay, to the dumbass who wrote this article. Michael Jordan wasn’t going 20 ft high doing three flips, not to mention the walls of the pipe are 20 ft high too. No respect and not enough insight in the sport to judge him.

    • Tyler Leli

      There is no doubting that White is doing things that are dangerous, but the facts are he signed up for this. Complaining about the conditions is going to get nothing done, other than set up an excuse for if White doesn’t win the halfpipe gold medal. I have a massive amount of respect for his athletic abilities, but there are no positives to complaining about conditions that all snowboarders have to compete on.

      • Jerry Harness

        HINT: Every single competition of this type begins with feedback from those running the course and then followed by course adjustments. This usually happens multiple times, until everyone is satisfied.Voicing these concerns is perfectly normal and has always been done this way. singling out White as just a complainer is not only stupid, but sounds to me like the officials don’t want to be bothers with the ‘standards’ and simply want the athletes to ‘make do’. I personally can think of MANY winter Olympic events where playing field has a minimum requirement and I can promise that if those stringent conditions were not met, no nations would compete…including Russia. For example, what is the figure skating fields was rough with random bumps. Would Russia force Julia Lipnitskaia to skate anyway? I doubt it. Or how about in Vancouver, where the speed skating event was delayed until the ice was properly prepared for the event. Funny, I never heard anyone call these guys babies for complaining, and I never heard anyone actually suggest that they should race on a none perfect course.

        To be honest, attempting to shame these athletes is not only childish but irresponsible as well. If they choose to pass on competing for a metal, it is they who are missing out and they who will walk away empty-handed. Trust me. None is dropping from fear of the competition…that’s for sure.

  • Will Reeseman

    Terrible comparisons.. Could have easily done better for this kind of argument. Does White have a history of complaining, or is it just the awful set up Russia has displayed over the entire course of the Olympics. You said it yourself, he’s not the only one.

    • Tyler Leli

      He is not the only one complaining, but as the best halfpipe snowboarder in the world what is going to be accomplished by complaining? It only makes White look bad if he doesn’t win the gold medal, continuing on with his excuses after dropping out of the slopestyle competition.

  • Jerry Harness

    Maybe White shouldn’t complain. I mean, if the speed skating course was sprinkled with gravel, none of these guys would complain, right? I mean, the conditions are the same for everyone right? Or how about if we make the bobsled run so that everyone is thrown off the course in the first few seconds? Opps. that wouldn’t work…and neither will a poorly designed 1/2 pipe that is so bumpy and slow you can’t reach the course end.
    The real problem is with some events, certain conditions must be met in order for the event to even be done, otherwise, it is not only silly, but dangous.
    I can promise you this. If the event starts to cause multiple injuries or is so poorly designed that you can’t even make it to the end of the 1/2 pipe, just think how foolish all you “stop whining” folk will look, especially when NONE of the other snowboard are saying Shawn is wrong. These are the folks whose opinion matters in this sport and until I hear a snowboarder tell Shawn to stop whining, than I could care less what these couch potatoes think.

  • Josh

    You are an idiot. Snowboarders go 20+ feet above the lip. This is only possible in a well made pipe designed with safety in mind. This means big transitions and a fast flat. The same thing goes for slopestyle/big air. Do you know what a step up is? It’s a jump that lets riders go huge while minimizing the risk of injury in case of a fall. You have no idea what I’m talking about right?

    Athletes train and wait 4 years for a shot at an Olympic medal. What’s the point if you come and have horribly unsafe conditions?

  • John Billings

    If White is such a great Athlete he should be able to adapt. Looks like he’s only good at crying like a little baby.