Shaun White

Shaun White talks Sochi problems, crashing I-Pod’s party on ‘Tonight Show’

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Shaun White‘s post-Sochi plans included playing shows with his band and partying with the man who beat him in the Olympic halfpipe.

The two-time Olympic champion visited “The Tonight Show” with Jimmy Fallon on Thursday and talked Sochi. White’s third Winter Games weren’t memorable. He pulled out of the first Olympic slopestyle competition and finished fourth in the halfpipe.

But the problems began as soon as he arrived at his rented house.

“The whole left side wasn’t there,” he said (full episode here). “It wasn’t built. … It was just kind of like unfinished.”

Like a doll house, he said.

“The best was the response,” White said, turning on a Russian accent. “Don’t worry. It will snow. You won’t see anything. It’ll be nice.”

It wasn’t much smoother for his snowboard teammates at the Olympic Village. White said he was told a shower floor flooded, and water dripped onto the floor below — bobsledders’ beds.

“They come back, and it’s just like monsoon,” White said.

White discussed more Sochi problems, specifically the halfpipe conditions.

“Basically we had three days to practice, and the pipe was pretty much unrideable for three days because of the, I don’t know, just the snow conditions were really bizarre,” he said. “There’s photos. They had like a fire hose and were trying to like ice it down and do all these things. … I’ve never seen that.”

White reiterated he had an off-night in the halfpipe final but that it didn’t make or break his career. The winner, Swiss Iouri Podladtchikov, is a good friend. White said he planned to see Podladtchikov later Thursday night.

“He doesn’t know I’m going,” White said. “I’m just going to show up. … I’m going to crash his party.”

White will stay in New York this weekend, playing a show at Mercury Lounge on Sunday and then “The Tonight Show” next Thursday.

U.S. snowboarder lands on Wheaties box

Syria-born Olympian takes advocacy role at U.N. refugee agency

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GENEVA (AP) — The U.N. refugee agency has chosen as a goodwill ambassador a Syrian teenage girl who helped save a boat carrying fellow refugees and later became an Olympic swimmer.

Yusra Mardini was appointed as UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador on Thursday, joining other notables like actress Cate Blanchett and author Khaled Hosseini in the unpaid advocacy role.

UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi said Mardini “represents the hopes, the fears and the incredible potential of the more than 10 million young refugees around the globe.”

Mardini and her sister Sarah jumped overboard and swam for hours alongside their overloaded boat to reach Greece from Turkey in 2015.

She swam on the first Refugee Olympic team in Rio last year and has discussed refugees’ challenges with leaders like Pope Francis and President Barack Obama.

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Rafael Nadal recreates famous 1992 Olympic cauldron lighting

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Rafael Nadal, owner of two Olympic gold medals, recently parroted arguably the most famous moment in Spanish Olympic history.

Nadal and Marc Lopez, the 2016 Olympic doubles champions, took up bows and arrows and joined archer Antonio Rebollo on Monday at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Stadium. It brought back memories of Rebollo’s unforgettable cauldron lighting from the only Olympics held in Spain.

Nadal is in Barcelona for an ATP Tour event as he prepares to vie for a 10th French Open title next month.

Rebollo, now 61 years old, was one of 200 hundred archers considered to light the cauldron in 1992. He learned that he was chosen for the role over four other finalists two hours ahead of time, according to an NBC Olympics profile in 1996.

The cauldron would be 195 feet away. Fearing Rebollo would miss the target, organizers instructed him to fire his arrow beyond the stadium walls. As the arrow soared, a technician lit the natural gas flame with a remote control.

The illusion worked. The true story wasn’t revealed for another 20 years.

“There were no fears,” Rebollo, a Barcelona native who contracted polio at age 8, told NBC two decades ago. “I was practically a robot. I focused on my positioning and reaching the target. That was all. … My feelings were taken from the people who described to me how they saw it. What they felt, their emotions, their cries. This is what made me realize what the moment actually meant.”

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