Shaun White Threw His Helmet, Realized He Still Needed It & Then Won Olympic Gold

shaun white wins gold helmet toss
Cameron Spencer/Getty Images
Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Shaun White has completed his Olympic comeback, winning a gold medal in men's halfpipe at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics. It was about as dramatic of a win as you could have asked for.

After his first run, where he scored an impressive 94.25, White was so pumped he threw his helmet into the crowd. The run itself would have earned him a medal, even if he didn't later improve on it. However, when the celebrating was done, he realized he needed his helmet back for the next two runs.

He walked to the crowd and asked if he could have it back.

White was the last snowboarder in each round, so when his third run came, he was guaranteed a silver medal. He sat in second place and needed a huge run to take gold.

He got it, earning his third Olympic gold at age 31.

His helmet toss got a reaction on social media, with many loving the display of emotion. Others thought he might be celebrating a little too early. That was a fair criticism, since that run wound up not being a gold-medal run.

The helmet tossing was contagious. After this third run, Swiss snowboarder Patrick Burgener tossed his helmet into the crowd as well. He also yelled "fuck yeah" on live TV before grabbing the camera and screaming into the lens. 

Nonetheless, White's helmet toss wound up being a footnote to a run that wound up being the US's 100th gold medal in Olympic history. It helped White, who was the oldest snowboarder in competition, complete a comeback. He held two consecutive gold medals heading into the 2014 Sochi Games but ended up finishing fourth overall. Now, while he appears to be at the top of his sport once again, he also faces resurfaced allegations of repeated sexual misconduct that have tempered many Olympic fans’ excitement for his accomplishments on the snow.

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Dustin Nelson is a News Writer with Thrillist. He holds a Guinness World Record but has never met the fingernail lady. Follow him @dlukenelson.