Four years ago, the Daily Mail of England carried a story and photo with the headline, "Snowboarder Shaun White cuts a dapper figure in a suit and tie as he's spotted with a mystery woman."
That was in the East Village in Manhattan, and the woman was none other than Greenwich native Sarah Barthel, one-half of the electro-rock band Phantogram, which has performed at The Egg and Upstate Concert Hall in recent years and gone from Capital Region roots to national success, playing at major music festivals.
California native White, 31, reclaimed the world sports spotlight Wednesday with a stirring, gold medal-winning performance in Pyeongchang, South Korea, his third gold medal in the halfpipe event in the past four Winter Olympic Games. Barthel, 34, was on hand to view the gold medal victory, along with White's parents, according to reports.
White, who lives in Los Angeles with Barthel, spoke to People magazine recently and offered his thoughts on the Olympics and his relationship with Barthel.
“It’s funny: We actually met backstage at 'Saturday Night Live,'” said White. He was in New York City several years ago apartment hunting and Barthel was living in Brooklyn.
White said the two had mutual friends on the show and “and we just bumped backstage and became friends, and then over time it kind of turned into something," he told the magazine.
Later, as White was training for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia, their relationship deepened after he offered to let Barthel and her band mate, Josh Carter, and some others stay in his Los Angeles home, according to People.
Speaking to Bleacher Report last month, Barthel recalled White at the time as “this wild child, just all over the place — in a good way.”
White and Barthel are often on the road in different locations as Phantogram performs live shows and the snowboarder competes in events. “We live in two different worlds, so that’s why it’s nice to come together and share stories from the road,” White said.
Asked about a possible wedding in the future, White told People they “haven’t gotten that far.”
“It’s tough,” he says. “It’s like you put your life on hold for the Olympics. … This is the goal at hand and we’re here, finally, it’s all happening.”
For Shaun White, it's all happening all right. His winning performance represented the 100th gold medal overall for the United States in Winter Olympics history. And three of those belong to him.