Shaun White had to go where he had never been to be Olympic champ again

Rachel Axon

 |  USA TODAY Sports

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — Shaun White threw the trick, the one that had sent him to the hospital five months ago, and told his coach he was scared.

In practice for the Olympic final here at Phoenix Snow Park, the memories of that crash hadn’t faded any more than the still-pink scars on White’s forehead, nose and upper lip. JJ Thomas encouraged White, telling him he had executed the trick fine.

By the time his third run in the final came around, that took a backseat to the competitiveness that has made White snowboarding’s biggest icon.

Needing to land a combination of tricks he’d never done before, White soared above the halfpipe and put down

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