The Golden Ones: Medalists Shaun White, Evan Lysacek and Lindsey Vonn
In a gravity-defying performance in Vancouver, the 23-year-old scored his second gold medal. "What's special about the medals is it's all cut from one big piece," he says. "They're all connected, so it makes a big picture when you put them all together."
The moment he landed the Double McTwist 1260 in Vancouver was an explosion of relief, Shaun says."It's one of those things where you've been thinking about this day and planning and dreaming and everything's building up inside. You're standing at the top, and you've got to land it."
Shaun says he only trained intensely for one or two hours a day. "It's one of those things where I only have a certain amount of energy and focus," he says. "I can't just go free ride it. It's one of those things where I always have to be pushing myself."
While Shaun says his family is always there to cheer him on, he says his mom can't bear the thought of his getting hurt. "My mom runs for the hills at [events] because the last thing she wants to see is the X Games clip," he says. "I won [the Olympic Games]. I was looking for the family for the hug—that's my favorite part. And she's booked it to the lodge. She just runs away. She doesn't want to watch."
Still, he says he wouldn't be where he is without their support. "It's funny because you put a dream in front of somebody when they're so young and it just seemed so close," he says. "I was like, 'I can do this.' And I just took every step toward it and, sure enough, it happened."
But there is one special person Shaun says he'd like to meet—President Barack Obama. "It seems like you win the gold for the U.S., you should meet the president," he says. "That would be cool."
Looking to the future, Shaun says he's not ruling out the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. "Going to Russia, representing—why would I not want to experience this again? But I don't know," he says. "I'm just trying to live in the moment."
Evan says winning gold still feels surreal. "I could have stood on that podium for hours. It felt like just a split second up there. So I think I have to just keep reliving it and maybe get a little bit of sleep, and when I wake up, I'll wonder if it's all real."
Still, Evan says he wasn't sure he'd land in the top spot when he finished his flawless performance. "But I knew that what I set out to do here in Vancouver had been accomplished, and I showed up just hoping that I was going to have my absolute best performance in the most important moment of my life," he says. "To have that performance was just icing on the cake of a fantastic week here."
So what's Evan's advice for young athletes who hope to be in his skates someday? "As an athlete, you have really great days and you have tough days," he says. "When you have those tough days and you have those trying moments, your love for what you do is going to get you through it."
When she finished the race, Lindsey started to cry—and continued to cry for two hours. "The waterworks just kept going," she says. "I kept trying to give interviews, and I couldn't even say a sentence. It was just too much emotion and too much going on, and I couldn't control it."
Lindsey says she couldn't believe her dreams had come true. "I've dreamed about that moment since I was a little girl," she says. "To finally be able to do it under so much pressure and so much expectation [was] more than I could ever hope for."
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