White grilled af­ter tak­ing half­pipe gold

Star apol­o­gizes for law­suit com­ments

USA TODAY International Edition - - SPORTS - Jake Seiner

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea – Shaun White stared down the half­pipe be­fore his fi­nal Olympic run and had no doubt what would hap­pen next.

“I hon­estly knew I had it,” White said. “I knew I had to put it down.”

Put it down he did, soar­ing and spin­ning Wed­nes­day through a half-dozen near flaw­less tricks – in­clud­ing back-to­back 1440s for the first time in his life – en route to his record third half­pipe gold medal.

White won with a score of 97.75 and wept at the bot­tom of the half­pipe. It marked White’s re­turn to the top of the sport af­ter a dis­ap­point­ing fourth-place fin­ish at the 2014 Sochi Games.

The snow­board­ing great re­ceived heaps of praise for his gutsy run, but also crit­i­cism on so­cial me­dia and ques­tions in a news con­fer­ence about a sex­ual mis­con­duct law­suit filed against him in 2016. White dis­missed the al­le­ga­tions as “gos­sip” be­fore apol­o­giz­ing for his “poor choice of words” later in the day.

White’s gold was also the 100th over­all for the United States in the Win­ter Olympics – all four Amer­i­can golds this year have been won by snow­board­ers.

The U.S. might have got­ten gold No. 101, but Mikaela Shiffrin’s bid for mul­ti­ple medals at the Pyeongchang Olympics was de­layed once again when the women’s slalom was post­poned be­cause of strong winds. It’s the third time in four days an Alpine ski­ing race was put on hold be­cause gusts made it too dan­ger­ous for com­pe­ti­tion.

The women’s in­di­vid­ual biathlon was also post­poned be­cause of wind, and the weather also led of­fi­cials to evac­u­ate the Olympic Park in the coastal city of Gangne­ung.

In fig­ure skat­ing, the Chi­nese duo of Sui Wen­jing and Han Cong are in first place af­ter the pairs short pro­gram. Rus­sian skaters Ev­ge­nia Tarasova and Vladimir

Moro­zov were a close sec­ond to the Chi­nese – .71 points be­hind. Canada’s Mea­gan Duhamel and Eric Rad­ford were third. Alexa Scimeca-Knierim and Chris Knierim of the United States strug­gled and were in 14th place.

WHITE APOL­O­GIZES: White has apol­o­gized af­ter re­fer­ring to a sex­ual mis­con­duct law­suit filed against him in 2016 as “gos­sip” dur­ing a news con­fer­ence fol­low­ing his his­toric gold medal in the men’s half­pipe.

White is­sued the apol­ogy on NBC’s “To­day” show on Wed­nes­day. He said he used “a poor choice of words to de­scribe such a sen­si­tive sub­ject” and he’s “truly sorry.”

The snow­boarder’s post-gold news con­fer­ence got con­tentious when re­porters ques­tioned him about the law­suit. Lena Zawaideh, a for­mer drum­mer in his band, claimed in the law­suit White sex­u­ally ha­rassed her, forced her to watch pornog­ra­phy and re­fused to pay her af­ter she was fired. The suit was set­tled last spring.

White was asked if the al­le­ga­tions might tar­nish his rep­u­ta­tion.

“I’m here to talk about the Olympics, not gos­sip and stuff,” he said. “I don’t think so.”

Re­porters at­tempted to fol­low up about the law­suit, but U.S. Snow­board­ing and Freeski­ing event di­rec­tor Nick

Alex­akos shut them down. WINDIER OLYMPICS: This lat­est post­pone­ment for Shiffrin could com­pli­cate her ef­fort to en­ter up to five in­di­vid­ual events, as she’ll now have less time to rest and pre­pare be­tween them. She’ll no longer get full days off be­tween each race if she tries to do them all and would have to com­pete Thurs­day, Fri­day and Satur­day this week to make that hap­pen.

In Gangne­ung, an an­nounce­ment in Korean and English ad­vised fans to go in­side for safety in the af­ter­noon. Vol­un­teers also used bull­horns to tell fans to seek shel­ter. Many were queued up to go in­side the Sam­sung build­ing near the hockey arena.

Winds were blow­ing steadily and rat­tled the giant tent an­chored with me­tal beams in Gangne­ung. U.S., RUS­SIA LOSE IN HOCKEY

OPEN­ERS: Jan Mur­sak scored the ty­ing goal in the fi­nal min­utes of reg­u­la­tion and the win­ner in over­time as Slove­nia came back to stun the United States 3-2.

Mur­sak, Slove­nia’s only player with NHL ex­pe­ri­ence, scored with goal­tender Gasper Kroselj pulled for the ex­tra at­tacker with 1:37 left in the third pe­riod and scored the win­ner 38 sec­onds into over­time.

Brian O’Neill and Jor­dan Green­way scored for the Amer­i­cans.

It wasn’t the only sur­prise of the night, though the U.S., like all the other teams, is play­ing with­out NHL play­ers for the first time since 1994. Across town, the fa­vored Rus­sians opened Olympic play with a 3-2 loss to Slo­vakia.

ON THE BOARD: The joint Korean women’s hockey team fi­nally scored its first goal of the Olympics, cour­tesy of a pair of Amer­i­cans.

Randi Heesoo Grif­fin scored at 9:31 of the sec­ond pe­riod on the Kore­ans’ 33rd shot of the Olympics in their third game. She grew up in Cary, North Carolina, and her mother is from South Korea.

Grif­fin was set up for the goal by Marissa Brandt, who now lives in a sub­urb of the Twin Ci­ties in Min­nesota and who is play­ing for the coun­try where she was born. Her birth name is Park Yoon­jung, the name she uses on the back of her Korean team jer­sey.

GUY RHODES/USA TO­DAY SPORTS

Shaun White of the United States scored 97.75 on his fi­nal run Wed­nes­day to claim his third gold medal.

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