Shaun White's Olympic Spirit Showed Up—Off the Slopes

'Washington Post' reporter explains how snowboarder met 2 cancer survivors

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 12, 2014 8:53 AM CST

(Newser) – Shaun White may not have medaled in the halfpipe yesterday, but he still "delivered the Olympic moment of his life," writes Mike Wise in the Washington Post. Wise went to Sochi with an angle in mind—he was going to write about how White "had become too big for his snowboard bindings," an isolated diva. But then, while waiting for White to compete, Wise met two young cancer survivors sent to the Games by the Make-a-Wish Foundation. Both consider White a hero and an inspiration, but they weren't allowed to actually meet him. That's when Wise jumped in.

He talked to the press officer for the US snowboard team, telling him about the kids, and then White came toward the area where they were standing to talk to reporters. The press officer pointed out the kids to him, and White didn't hesitate. "I don’t know if White has caught more rarefied air [than] in that moment, catapulting himself in one leap over the barricade. I do know one 10-year-old’s life will never be the same," Wise writes. "I came here ready to prick a legend’s balloon, resolute that the carefree kid I met eight years ago in Torino ... was now an out-of-touch celebrity that didn’t connect with real people anymore. And then that angle crumbled beneath a wall of emotion." Click for his full column.

Shaun White looks at the scoreboard after competing in the men's snowboard halfpipe final at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 11, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia.
Shaun White looks at the scoreboard after competing in the men's snowboard halfpipe final at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 11, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Shaun White waves to the crowd after a run during the men's snowboard halfpipe qualifying at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014.
Shaun White waves to the crowd after a run during the men's snowboard halfpipe qualifying at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014.   (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
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