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

Serena Williams, reclusive amid pandemic, returns to tennis eyeing Grand Slam record

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Serena Williams travels with “like 50 masks” and has been a little bit of a recluse since early March and the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I don’t have full lung capacity, so I’m not sure what would happen to me,” Williams said Saturday, two days before the start of the WTA’s Top Seed Open in Lexington, Ky., her first tournament since playing Fed Cup in early February. “I’m sure I’ll be OK, but I don’t want to find out.”

Williams, 38, has a history of blood clots and pulmonary embolisms. She faced life-threatening complications following her Sept. 1, 2017, childbirth that confined her to a bed for six weeks. She said her daily routine was surgery and that she lost count after the first four.

More recently, Williams enjoyed “every part” of the last six months at home in Florida, her longest time grounded since her teens.

“I’ve been a little neurotic, to an extent,” on health and safety, she said. “Everyone in the Serena bubble is really protected.”

Williams is entered to play next week in Lexington and at consecutive tournaments in New York City later this month — the Western & Southern Open and U.S. Open, the latter starting Aug. 31.

Williams is the highest-ranked player in the Lexington field at No. 9. Others include 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens, older sister Venus Williams and 16-year-old Coco Gauff.

She has been bidding ever since having daughter Olympia to tie Margaret Court‘s record 24 Grand Slam singles titles, albeit many of Court’s crowns came before the Open Era and, notably at the Australian Open, against small fields lacking the world’s best players. Williams reached the last two Wimbledon and U.S. Open finals, losing all of them.

She showed her seriousness in committing early to this year’s U.S. Open by installing a court at home with the same surface. Three of the top 10 female singles players already said they will skip the U.S. Open due to travel and/or virus concerns, including No. 1 Ash Barty.

“Tennis is naturally a socially distanced sport, so it was kind of easy to go back and just walk on my side of the court and have my hitter walk on his side of the court,” Williams said.

The French Open starts two weeks after the U.S. Open ends. Williams was asked if she will fly to Europe for tournaments this autumn.

“I see myself doing it all, if it happens,” she said.

The Tokyo Olympics are too far away to make plans.

“We’ll have to kind of wait to see what happens in the fall,” she said. “One thing I have learned with this pandemic is don’t plan.”

MORE: Past U.S. Open champions get wild cards

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Conseslus Kipruto tests positive for coronavirus, canceling world-record bid

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Conseslus Kipruto, the Olympic and world 3000m steeplechase champion, tested positive for the coronavirus without symptoms, which will keep him from a world-record chase on Friday, according to his social media.

The Kenyan was to race in the first in-person Diamond League meet of the year in Monaco on Friday.

“Our World is going through a challenging period and we all have to take our responsibilities,” was posted. “Unfortunately my covid-19 test, as part of the Monaco-protocol, came back positive and therefore I can’t be part of the Monaco Diamond League.

“I don’t have any symptoms and I was actually in great shape. I was planning to go for the WR: it has stayed too long outside Kenya. As the World & Olympic Champion I feel strongly its something I should go for as well.”

Kipruto, 25, is the 14th-fastest steepler in history with a personal best of 8:00.12. The world record is 7:53.63, set by Kenyan-born Qatari Saif Saaeed Shaheen in 2004.

Last year, Kipruto won the world title by .01, extending a streak of a Kenyan or Kenyan-born man winning every Olympic or world title in the event since the 1988 Seoul Games. He was sidelined by a stress fracture in his left foot until opening his season extremely late on Aug. 24.

MORE: Trayvon Bromell’s road back through destruction, death

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Our World is going through a challenging period and we all have to take our responsibilities. Unfortunately my covid-19 test, as part of the Monaco-protocol, came back positive and therefore I can’t be part of the Monaco Diamond League on August 14th. I don’t have any symptoms and I was actually in great shape. I was planning to go for the WR: it has stayed too long outside Kenya. As the World & Olympic Champion I feel strongly its something I should go for as well. Wish to thank Monaco for all the work they have done and I wish them and my colleagues a wonderful competition. Athletics is back and I will be back as well. Anyone willing to organise a steeple once I can be cleared? @diamondleaguemonaco #nike #quarantine #WR #Kenya

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