Day 7 of the Beijing Games saw one of the all-time Olympic great’s career come to an end in US snowboarding icon Shaun White.
The three-time Olympic gold medallist was unable to ride into the sunset with another medal after he finished fourth in his pet halfpipe event as Australia’s Scott James and Japan’s Ayumu Hirano finished with the silver and gold, respectively.
However, after the halfpipe final, James and White took part in what is undoubtedly one of the most moving interviews of these Olympics so far.
The Australian paid tribute to White, who competed at five different Olympics, leaving the 35-year-old American fighting back tears.
“I’ve never expressed this. To Shaun, it’s obviously huge respect to him. I mean, the guy is the GOAT,” James said.
“To ride here and compete with him and also become a rival over the years has been insane.
“What I’ve never said before, it’s a really tough and interesting situation where you come against a guy like Shaun White, who I looked up to when I was younger and I aspired to be like you.
“There’s this level I get to where I become competitive and I have a lot of respect for him, but as a competitor I almost have to get rid of the respect because we’re both out here trying to win.
“That’s been an amazing journey for me to feel that emotion and to try and watch him do his thing and me then becoming rivals with him. Honestly, it’s been incredible to be here with you in this final and in Pyeongchang.”
“I wouldn’t have pictured it any other way, I would’ve done the same,” White said in response.
“I’m so proud. Even in qualifying, they’re asking me about my favourites and you and Ayumu have been on my heels every step of the way.
“I’m proud of you man, really, truly proud. To see you throwing down is just awesome.”