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.