Shaun White may have just won his sixth straight X Games superpipe gold, which will sit nicely next to his two Olympic halfpipe titles, but he’s still not satisfied and believes he’ll have to step up his game before Sochi comes around next February.
“A lot of things I’m doing this season I hope are just outdated by the next season,” White, who earned the top two scores in Sunday night’s final, told the AP. “I’m hoping to progress a lot.”
He’ll certainly need to if he wants to hold off the “next Shaun White,” aka 14-year-old Japanese phenom Ayumu Hirano, who finished with the silver in the superpipe and who White admitted had an “amazing future” ahead of him.
White is also arguably well-behind back-to-back X Games champ Mark McMorris in slopestyle. Shaun finished fifth in the finals on Saturday after being unable to pull-off the triple cork during competition that he landed in practice, but he apparently used that failure to fuel his performance Sunday.
“I’ve got some work to do in the slopestyle department. I used to get super stressed out, about something that would happen like in slopestyle. I’m old enough to just turn that into such a positive thing for myself – to really take that step back as a giant leap forward.”
He earned a perfect 100 during last year’s superpipe, and a 98 on Sunday while pulling off tricks no one in the field could, so we’re admittedly excited to see what this giant leap forward looks like for White.
Simone Biles is one of 11 finalists for Time‘s Person of the Year.
Time‘s Person of the Year, named annually since 1927, has never been an individual athlete or team. Tennis player Billie Jean King was part of the “American Women” group named in 1975.
In 2015, the 1976 Olympic decathlon champion Caitlyn Jenner was one of eight finalists.
The Person of the Year “is the person or persons who most affected the news and our lives, for good or ill, and embodied what was important about the year.”
Biles, 19, is the only teenager finalist and is six years younger than the youngest-ever solo Person of the Year, Charles Lindbergh in 1927. Biles won four gold medals and one bronze in Rio, the largest collection for a female gymnast at one Olympics since 1988.
The Person of the Year will be announced on Wednesday morning on “Today.”
Here are the finalists, in alphabetical order:
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
The Flint Whistleblowers
VIDEO: Biles shows Stephen Colbert how to stick the landing
Tonga’s famous flag bearer, Pita Taufatofua, said he wants to compete at the 2018 Winter Olympics as a cross-country skier.
“I’m going to be taking my Olympic dream one step further,” Taufatofua said in an Olympic Channel video published Monday. “My goal is to let people see, if I can do it, they can do it. The goal is to hunt down that Olympic medal at the 2018 Olympics.”
Sure enough, Taufatofua already has an International Ski Federation bio page. The federation lists one other Tongan cross-country skier with a bio, Makeleta Stephan, who was last of 93 finishers in a 2015 World Championships event.
In 2014, Bruno Banani became the first Tongan to compete at a Winter Olympics, placing 32nd in men’s luge. He was later the subject of a documentary. Banani gained fame starting in early 2012, when the story of his name was widely publicized. Banani’s real name is Fuahea Semi, but he changed it to the name of his German clothing sponsor as a marketing ploy.
Taufatofua lost his opening Olympic taekwondo match by mercy rule in Rio, two weeks after his his shirtless, oiled-up appearance in the Opening Ceremony.
Judging by the Olympic Channel video, Taufatofua’s chances of qualifying for the Olympics look better for Tokyo 2020 than Pyeongchang 2018.
PHOTOS: Tongan flag bearer steals show at Opening Ceremony