Shaun White Tears Up After Final Pro Snowboarding Run: This Sport's Been 'the Love of My Life'
By Miguel A. Melendez
Shaun White's sensational career as one of the world's most celebrated snowboarders has come to an end. The 35-year-old star gave a tearful goodbye to his Olympic career Friday in Beijing after falling short of a medal.
The Flying Tomato, the early moniker he earned for his lush red locks, finished in fourth place in the men's halfpipe final. The California native was eyeing a spot on the podium during his third run, and while he landed the gravity-defying triple cork 1440 -- a trick that once sent him to the hospital -- White wound up falling on his next trick, evaporating his chances of taking home a medal at his final Olympic Games. He also finished fourth at the Sochi Olympics.
"I just want to thank everyone for watching. Everyone at home, thank you. Snowboarding, thank you. It's been the love of my life."
Following his final Olympic performance, White, considered by many as the face of modern winter sports, took his helmet off and waved, and later gave an emotional interview while choking back tears.
"I just want to thank everyone for watching," he said. "Everyone at home, thank you. Snowboarding, thank you. It's been the love of my life."
White's storied professional career includes five appearances at the Olympics and bringing home three gold medals.
White's girlfriend, Nina Dobrev, posted a heartfelt tribute after his run.
"I am in awe of you. Today we are celebrating you. Your hard work. Your passion. Your determination. Your talent. Your class. Your fearlessness. Your courage. Your soul. Your heart. YOUR LEGACY," she wrote. "I couldn’t be more proud. Of everything you have accomplished over the last 20 years as a competitor and the man you have become. You are one of a kind."
She also called him the "G.O.A.T. of snowboarding," adding, "Not to mention you are also the G.(B).O.A.T. = Greatest Boyfriend Of All Time 😉."
The Vampire Diaries star also hosted a watch party in Los Angeles, attended by Miles Teller and his wife, Keleigh Sperry Teller. Aaron Paul was also there. Keleigh took to Instagram to give fans a glimpse of the watch party, which included tons of USA-themed cupcakes, champagne and just about everyone decked out in USA gear.
Dobrev posted a countdown to White's final event. And, prior to the event, Dobrev proved to be an excellent hype woman after posting a picture of the couple on a lift and overlooking snow-packed mountains. She captioned it, "did I mention I already won the gold with you? show 'em how it's done, you fu#%ing stud 🇺🇸💥 @shaunwhite."
White and Dobrev first sparked romance rumors last March, and confirmed their relationship two months later when they went Instagram official. Just last month, a source told ET that the actress and the athlete have "gotten more serious," nearly a year after they were first romantically linked.
"Nina Dobrev and Shaun White’s relationship has gotten more serious and they’re still having so much fun together," ET's source said. "They’re both hysterical, active, like to have fun and go on adventures together and can have deep conversations too. Nina is a very open, loving person and is very into Shaun and happy that he’s in her life."