Shaun White turned in a disappointing performance in the men’s halfpipe event at the Winter Olympics on Tuesday. The stage was set perfectly for the gold medal favorite, as he was the last boarder to ride in the final round. White’s score of 90.25 was not enough to earn a medal. Switzerland’s Iouri Podladtchikov took home the gold.
While many Americans felt that White’s performance was a letdown, fellow US snowboarder Danny Davis saw it as a positive.
“You know it’s good for snowboarding, man,” Davis said, per Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports. “The world knows now that there are other snowboarders besides Shaun. It’s great, man, because there are a bunch of good riders in our sport and they deserve some credit, too.”
Davis, who finished 10th after wiping out twice, also thought the judges did White a favor by giving him a high enough score to finish fourth.
“Well, fourth was a gift, first of all,” Davis said.
White failed to land one of his tricks, which usually makes it incredibly difficult to score above a 90. His name may have contributed to the score, but White is proud of what he has done for the sport of snowboarding.
“I think I have affected a lot of people,” he said. “People who had never seen the sport before … I always want to be more than just a snowboard. This is a big part of who I am, but it’s not all of who I am.”
White is to snowboarding as Tiger Woods is to golf. Golf was not nearly as popular among the younger generation before Tiger came along. Now, Woods is struggling to win tournaments because the people who grew up idolizing him are keeping pace with him on the course. White has grown the sport of snowboarding, which means he faces more competition now than ever. That was evident in Sochi.