Shaun White didn't manage to medal in the men's halfpipe snowboarding final on Tuesday at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Following that disappointment, the 27-year-old superstar announced he will be taking a break from the sport to tour with his band.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reported what White had to say regarding the rather surprising development:
Shaun White: "I need a little break from snowboarding for a while." Says he's going to go on tour with his band.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) February 11, 2014
Perhaps it is a rash decision that White made in the moment after finishing in fourth place—something very much out of the ordinary. However, White has made it clear in the past he's very serious about his rock band, Bad Things, in which he serves as a guitarist.
In a Rolling Stone interview from August 2013, White described how he prioritized his time with Bad Things to reporter Dan Hyman:
I drop everything for these guys. [Photo] shoots, practice, anything I need to do. Because it’s a very serious thing for us. ... I stop snowboarding and I completely dive into skating. I forget everything about snowboarding...and I focus completely on skateboarding. And that’s how its been for music.
When will Shaun White win his next gold medal in the halfpipe?
Given that he's had raging success in both summer (skateboarding) and winter (snowboarding) extreme sports by focusing all his attention on one discipline, this hiatus from the slopes makes some sense.
The upcoming Winter X Games won't take place until the beginning of 2015, and skateboarding hasn't been at the forefront of White's versatile career in recent years.
There are also health factors to consider, as White has dealt with a variety of injury issues that may have hampered his performance in Sochi. As the two-time reigning gold medalist in the men's halfpipe, it was stunning that White failed to even crack the podium.
In spite of falling short, U.S. women's soccer player Tobin Heath weighed in and said White was still the best at his craft:
He might not be on the podium but @shaun_white is still the best.— Tobin Heath (@TobinHeath) February 11, 2014
If music does become the focus for White moving forward, it will be interesting to see what type of tunes Bad Things produces. As committed as White has been in the past, this could be the dawn of a new era in which he becomes a musician first and an athlete second, given all that he's accomplished as the latter over the past decade.