Shaun White's gold medal performance in the Olympics was amazing and inspiring today. 

At 31, he had to pull off the run of a lifetime--a flawless performance including at least one trick he'd never landed successfully before in competition--in order to come from behind to beat Ayumu Hirano of Japan for the gold.

It was especially sweet given that White had missed out on a medal in 2014, after winning gold in the two previous winter Olympics. And especially inspiring given the fact that he was still recovering from injuries he suffered in a training accident in New Zealand.

It was, you might say, an effort demonstrating a full-hearted champion--who was apparently snowboarding with a full stomach.

I say that because not long before White took to the half pipe, reports surfaced that he had taken to a South Korean restaurant called Santa Burger Sunday, where the owner is apparently a big Shaun White fan.

There, he ordered a gimmick cheeseburger called the "Flying Tomato" (named after him, or at least the nickname he acquired early in his career, when his red hair was a little longer). It was priced at the intentionally ridiculous price of 1 million won (the equivalent of about $920).

The burger apparently came with two beef patties and two types of cheese, plus two chicken wings on the side.

Obviously it didn't really have any impact on his performance--except, I'm just going to say: if someone named a $1,000 sandwich after you, even as a joke, I'm going to bet it would make you more confident.

"Is it real? This is Shaun White? It is not a dream?" owner Cha Gwen Sol exclaimed when White entered the shop, acccording to Reuters. "Shaun White tells me it is real. Oh my God, unbelievable."

Despite the purported price tag, White got the burger for free. That's especially tough because restaurants near Phoenix Park, where snowboarding events are being held, including Santa Burger, say the Olympic Games are killing their businesses.

"With the slopes at the snow park shut to the public," Reuters reported, "the nearby vendors selling food and ski rental equipment are receiving little to no custom from domestic tourism, usually their key customer base."

By now of course, with yet another gold medal, the burger is probably just a fading memory.

Far more vibrant: the recollection of turning two 1440s back-to-back in order to stave off the challenge from Hirano, who is 19, the age White was in his first Olympics.

Hirano took silver, and Australian Scott James took bronze. Here's the performance that sealed it all for White. 


 

Published on: Feb 14, 2018