Tony Hawk said he hopes Shaun White and the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics can provide a sense of escape and hope for America after political lines have divided the country over the last year.
In a recent interview with Bleacher Report Magazine, Hawk said America deserves a story that gives them hope, and he believes White’s story is compelling enough to do just that.
“This is his fourth Olympics, right?” Hawk said. “Just that story alone is enough to engage people and make them maybe focus on this as opposed to the tweet storm.”
White is a living snowboarding legend with 13 Winter X Games gold medals and two Olympic gold medals to his name. White failed to land himself on the medal podium at the 2014 Sochi Games.
White began to reevaluate his career and what it means to be an Olympian. At past Winter Games, White treated the competition like any other superpipe or slopestyle runs.
“I never really thought about it before, what it represents,” Shaun admitted Bleacher Report Magazine.
But now, White’s attitude has appeared to have changed.
“I’m proud [of his two Olympic gold medals,” he said. “I’m going to win medals and to show that I can do it and all these other reasons. But another big reason is: You’re winning for the U.S. For your home.”
Winning an Olympic medal under President Donald Trump might hold a different value than past years. Lyndsey Vonn has already made it clear last month that she’ll represent America at the Winter Games but not Trump.
Hawk wanted White to succeed for the American people, too.
“My hope for the Olympics is that Shaun wins and the president doesn’t tweet about it,” Hawk said. “It’ll provide some relief, I think, and it’ll make people proud,” Hawk said. “But it will give them hope, too.”
When White was made aware of Hawk’s comments, he said he’s not thinking about politics when he snowboards.
“I’m strapping this thing on my feet. It’s just this piece of wood, and we’re going down the mountain,” he said. “But that’s sports. That’s what sports can do. It’ll distract me from all this stuff going on. That’s exciting. I hope that I can do that for others.”