Shaun White

Shaun White goes on David Letterman, band plays NYC

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Shaun White continued his Big Apple tour Thursday with an appearance on David Letterman and a gig with his new band.

On the “Late Show,” White talked more about the new Olympic event of slopestyle, discussed a 14-year-old prodigy from Japan and poked fun at his crash at the U.S. Grand Prix in Park City, Utah, earlier this year.

The two-time reigning Olympic halfpipe champion conceded he’s got “a little catching up to do” in slopestyle before the Sochi Games.

He finished fifth in the event at the Winter X Games in January, failing to land a clean triple cork. It marked his first appearance in the slopestyle finals since he won the event in 2009.

“I tend to take the time off to compete in the halfpipe in the Olympics because slopestyle wasn’t in there,” White said. “Now, I’m playing catch-up from the last Olympics, where I haven’t been riding the slopestyle, and I’m catching up to these riders and hopefully learning tricks to surpass them.”

Letterman also asked White, 26, about the silver medalist in the superpipe from the Winter X Games — 14-year-old Japanese Ayumu Hirano.

“He’s tiny, so I think he can flip faster than me,” White said of Hirano, listed at 4 feet, 9 inches, by worldsnowboardtour.com. “I see a lot of what I was doing (at that age) in his riding.”

Letterman had an idea to hold off the teen phenom.

“You should take him out,” the host said.

“Naturally, yes,” White joked. “He’s cute, but … ”

Finally, White was shown video of his first run at the U.S. Grand Prix in Park City in February.

“Yeah, that’s not going well,” he said upon realizing which run it was. “See that wasn’t really a mistake. I was just really hungry … for snow. There’s no food at the top. Famished. … Mouth full, satisfied. There’s a smile under the mask.”

Oh, and in case you’re ever looking for Wi-Fi in the Letterman studio …

Before the “Late Show” aired, White was on stage at Santos Party House in lower Manhattan for a $15 show with his band, Bad Things, opening a 12-city tour.

NBC Olympic researcher Alex Goldberger checked it out and shared this photo of White performing on Instagram.

USA Today reviewed the event.

Wearing his Les Paul Studio guitar with a sunburst, White was just another guy in a band he formed with three childhood friends. He stood to the side of the stage, looking coolly coiffed wearing dark pants, a breezy button-down short-sleeved shirt and black dress shoes.

For once in his life, White wasn’t the center of attention, which is exactly the way he wants it. The Los Angeles-based band recently signed with Warner Bros. Records and will release an album later this year, but White wants to keep his two pursuits separate. A representative from Warner Bros. said White doesn’t want stories about the band intertwined with his snowboarding.

Bad Things plays Brooklyn Bowl on Saturday then hits other Northeast cities, Canada and the Midwest, wrapping up Aug. 9 in Minneapolis.

Video: White talks Olympics, hair on TODAY

Kate Hansen retires from luge, eyes Running of the Bulls

Kate Hansen
AP
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The last luge competition of Kate Hansen‘s career came at the Sochi Olympics. The one before that, she became the first U.S. woman to win a World Cup race in 17 years.

Not a bad way to go out.

Hansen has retired and will not attempt an Olympic encore in two years.

“I won’t go back to [competing in] luge,” Hansen said in a phone interview, coming to a firm decision the last several months. “As much as I miss my team, I miss my people, I miss traveling, I’m just feeling good about where my life’s at. I’m feeling fulfilled in a lot of different ways.”

She may be done speeding down an icy chute at 80 miles per hour, but she’s not done challenging herself. Hansen’s bucket list includes a trip to Pamplona, Spain, next year to participate in the Running of the Bulls.

She placed 10th in Sochi while also gaining fame for her warm-up dance routine while listening to Beyoncé and pranking the world with her wolf-in-the-athletes-village video.

“I never cared if I won or lost; I never cared about racing,” Hansen said. “Results, like they got me through the day-by-day, but my favorite part was being able to travel the world and make best friends all over.”

She’s still involved in the sport. Hansen will be the analyst on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra‘s broadcast of the World Luge Championships on Thursday from 6:30-8:30 p.m. ET.

“It’s really cool to use my craft that I’ve been working on half my life in a setting outside of competition,” Hansen said. “To still be a part of it is really fulfilling.”

Hansen, 23, sat out the last two seasons to concentrate on studying public relations and business at BYU (and backpack around Europe, Ecuador and Peru). She’s one year from her degree.

On March 27, 2014, Hansen was sought out by the Los Angeles Dodgers’ social media while attending a game to perform on their Dance Cam.

One month later, she threw out a ceremonial first pitch at a Dodgers game, met the right people and was offered a job with the club.

“Stars aligned,” Hansen said. “I would’ve never been able to take that job if I had been training.”

Hansen carries a microphone to help with an on-field pre-game show and in-game promotions (as she does at BYU). It helped her re-connect last summer with Jimmy Kimmel, with whom she pulled off the wolf-video prank in Sochi.

She hopes to be offered an ESPN internship for this summer after finding a delicate way to include her viral Sochi fame on her application.

“I embarrassed myself in front of the whole world,” she joked. “I definitely don’t lead with that.”

Hansen is also working on checking items off her bucket list, such as fixing up a motorcycle, reading Malcolm Gladwell‘s five books and wearing hoop earrings.

Hansen and her older sister plan to celebrate their birthdays in 2017 with a trip to Spain. They’re inviting anybody who wants to join them in the Running of the Bulls.

“I feel like after I went to the Olympics, if I have enough confidence, I can do anything,” Hansen said.

MORE: Update on every U.S. Olympic medalist from Sochi, two years from Pyeongchang

Wolfgate 2014

A photo posted by Kate Hansen (@k8ertotz) on

Two more fencers qualify for U.S. Olympic team

Alexander Massialas
AP
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Nowhere is the U.S. more deep in fencing than in men’s foil, with four of the top 10 in the world.

Two of those four qualified for the Rio Olympics based on rankings updated after a competition last weekend — world No. 1 Alexander Massialas and No. 6 Gerek Meinhardt.

Expect No. 5 Race Imboden and No. 10 Miles Chamley-Watson to join them on the Rio team, qualifying by mid-April. That quartet also made up the 2012 U.S. Olympic men’s foil team.

They are the 19th and 20th members of the U.S. Olympic team across all sports. View the complete roster here.

Imboden and Chamley-Watson are now battling to see who will be the third individual U.S. men’s foil fencer in Rio, with the fourth going to the Games as a possible competitor in the team event only.

Though Imboden is ranked higher internationally, it’s Chamley-Watson who controls his own destiny as he is better-placed in U.S. Fencing rankings that determine the Rio roster.

Since 2014, Massialas, Meinhardt and Imboden have all been ranked No. 1 in the world at one time or another. Chamley-Watson is a former world No. 2 and the only U.S. man to earn a World or Olympic title (2013 Worlds) in any fencing event.

Massialas took silver and Meinhardt bronze at the 2015 World Championships. Imboden reached the round of 16. Chamley-Watson lost in the first round to German Peter Joppich, a four-time World champion.

At the London Olympics, Massialas and Imboden were eliminated in the round of 16 and Chamley-Watson in the round of 32.

Meinhardt, who competed at Beijing 2008 as the youngest U.S. Olympic fencer ever, joined them in the team event, where the U.S. fell in the semifinals and the bronze-medal matchup. All were age 22 and younger at the London Games.

With four of the top 10 in the world, the U.S. could go into Rio as the favorite in the team event, though it fell in the 2015 Worlds quarterfinals to eventual champion Italy.

U.S. women’s sabre fencers Mariel Zagunis and Ibtihaj Muhammad qualified for the Olympics the previous weekend.

VIDEO: Chamley-Watson takes fencing to New York City streets