Shaun White: Golden boy no more

Shaun White was arrested for public intoxication following a wedding of Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney. 

Shaun White was arrested for public intoxication following a wedding of Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney. 

Staff Writer

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When Shaun White won his first gold medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, Rolling Stone dubbed him “the coolest kid in America.” However, his recent arrest on charges of vandalism and public intoxication is not cool at all.

White was arrested in September in Nashville, Tenn. for allegedly pulling a fire alarm and breaking a phone at the hotel he was staying at. While trying to get away, White fell and was taken to a hospital before being arrested.

Is White lowering the standard for how other Olympic athletes should act? Though White may be among the slightly more rebellious Olympic athletes—like Michael Phelps, who was photographed smoking marijuana in 2009—he does not set the primary example, especially for American athletes.

At the 2008 Summer Olympic games in Beijing, American sprinter Shawn Crawford went from fourth place to winning a silver medal after two other competitors were disqualified for minor infractions. Crawford then gave his medal to one of the disqualified competitors, Churandy Martina of the Netherlands Antilles.

Though sports media coverage can sometimes overemphasize the darker side of competition, most athletes at the Olympics are aware that they are representing their country and refrain from making poor choices.

White has apologized for his actions and hopefully will decide to compete in the 2014 Winter Olympic games in Sochi, Russia. If Olympic athletes continue to get caught misbehaving, other rising athletes might get the idea that making trouble is a good way to get in the spotlight.