Days before he flew down a mountain in Pyeongchang, South Korea, snowboarder Shaun White told PEOPLE he could visualize exactly what it would look like for him to lay down the best run of his career and nab a record-breaking third Olympic gold medal in the men’s halfpipe — rebounding both from a disappointing showing at the 2014 Games and a bloody crash in New Zealand in October.
On Wednesday morning (Tuesday night stateside) at the 2018 Winter Games, it happened almost exactly as he planned, right down to the first-place finish — and the moment prompted tears of joy for the veteran athlete.
With that victory, White, 31, has now made history as the only three-time gold medalist snowboarder at the Games.
Much like fellow teammate Chloe Kim, who picked up gold the day before in the halfpipe, White used social media to interact with fans during the competition.
“Man I put down a heck of a run,” White said shortly after his successful first run.
His second run tripped him up, however, when a fall allowed Japan’s Ayumu Hirano to pass him going into the final run. The competition was also notable for a horrific crash by Japan’s Yuto Totsuka.
Of the possibility he could earn another gold, White told PEOPLE last week: “I’ve had it in my mind of what it would like, and I can visually see myself going through the run and seeing all the people that I know are coming out here at the bottom — like I can just see it.”
“It’s just all about getting there and kind of matching that vision with reality,” White said after arriving in Korea ahead of his competition, “because that’s what’s happened before in the past Olympics. But it would mean the world to me.”
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