The 1 Reason Shaun White Says He and His Rock Star Girlfriend ‘Live in Two Different Worlds’

After a disappointing 2014 run in Sochi, snowboarding great Shaun White wanted to make up for it and decided to compete for another medal in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Just before he headed off to his fourth Olympic Games and won his third gold medal, White did an interview and discussed something other than the sport he loves. The focus of that sit-down with the athlete was all about the woman in his life named Sarah Barthel, who he’s been dating for the past several years.

Here’s are some interesting things he revealed about their relationship as well as which famous Olympian White relates to most, and how he thrilled a chef with his order at a South Korean restaurant.

White can relate to Michael Phelps

Shaun White in snowboarding gear
Shaun-White says he can related to fellow famed Olympian, Michael Phelps. | Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

The Olympic athlete who White can relate to in a lot of ways is Michael Phelps.

“I watched a Michael Phelps documentary, videos on him and him just going to the pool every single day, like that life I can imagine can get tough,” White said. “Same for me [before Sochi]. The same things that got me excited and motivated weren’t really working anymore.”

Just like the most-decorated Olympian off all time did, White eventually found his passion after taking some time off and at an Olympic qualifier event in January 2018 he scored a perfect 100.

Next: Does White plan to retire too?

Not retiring anytime soon

Shaun White of the United States reacts after his run during the Snowboard Men's Halfpipe Qualification on day four
Shaun White isn’t ready to retire yet. | Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Phelps retired after the 2016 Games in Rio, but White isn’t done with his Olympic career just yet.

The man who put snowboarding on the map said he plans to try and tackle skateboarding at the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo. He’d also like to compete in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, and then after that, he may bow out and hang up his board.

Next: How did White and his girlfriend meet?

White and Barthel were friends first

Professional snowboarder Shaun White (L) and recording artist Sarah Barthel of music group Phantogram attend GQ and Giorgio Armani Grammys After Party at Hollywood Athletic Club
These two started out as friends. | Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for GQ

White explained that he and Barthel, who makes up one half of the electro-rock group Phantogram, first met a few years back on the set of Saturday Night Life where they had mutual friends working on the show.

“It’s funny: We actually met backstage at SNL and we just bumped backstage and became friends, and then over time it kind of turned into something,”  he recalled.

Next: Why he said they live in different worlds?

They ‘live in two different worlds’

Snowboarder Shaun White (L) and musician Sarah Barthel, of Phantogram, attend the 2014 mtvU Woodie Awards and Festival on March 13, 2014 in Austin, Texas.
They are both used to life on the road. | Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for MTV

Although White and Barthel share many of the same interests such as being musicians, snowboarding, and a love for dogs, the three-time Olympic gold medalist said they still “live in two different worlds.” There are instances when they are not together for periods of time because she’s traveling with her band and he’s away training or competing.

“We live in two different worlds, so that’s why it’s nice to come together and share stories from the road,” White said. “You get somebody that understands what it’s like to travel and to have to be on the road … And I didn’t really get it until l was in a band myself and we’re on the road and it’s like it’s Groundhog Day.”

The Olympian added that it refreshing to be with someone who isn’t always asking, “When are you coming home?” because she herself knows what life is like being on the road.

Next: Could they be getting hitched anytime soon?

Wedding bells are not in the near future

HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 08: (EDITORS NOTE: Image has been converted to black and white.) Professional snowboarder Shaun White (L) and recording artist Sarah Barthel of music group Phantogram attend GQ and Giorgio Armani Grammys After Party at Hollywood Athletic Club on February 8, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images for GQ)
Is there a wedding in the future for this couple? | Michael Buckner/Getty Images for GQ

They have been together for a while, live together, and co-parent their pup, Leroy, but when it comes to the topic of marriage, White said that isn’t in the cards for them now. He added that timing has a lot to do with that.

“We haven’t gotten that far. It’s tough,” he said. “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.”

Next: What White looks forward to when he gets back home?

White enjoys DIY projects when home

PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Shaun White of the United States look on during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
He likes to take on home improvement projects when he’s not traveling. | Clive Mason/Getty Images

Something White really enjoys when he’s not traveling and competing is doing yard work and all kinds of home-improvement projects. “I’m the guy that will like, I’ll just be stoked to help you trim the bushes,” he said. “I’ll do yard work, I like to paint the houses, any sort of physical work, I’m down, I’m your guy. It’s ridiculous.”

He also talked about how even when doing those types of projects, his competitive nature can come out.

I was at [Barthel’s] mom’s house, I was like, “Yeah, sure, what do you need?” And then the neighbors — it was a beautiful East Coast day in the summertime — and you saw all the other neighbors kind of like eyeballing. They came out, they started doing their yards like, “You’re not going to have the nicest yard on the block.” And then I’m out there all — it got very competitive.

Next: How did White shock a chef at a South Korean restaurant?

He found and ate his namesake burger

USA's snowboard athlete Shaun White attends a press conference at the Media Press Center ahead of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games on February 8, 2018 in Pyeongchang. / AFP PHOTO / Florian CHOBLET / The erroneous mention[s] appearing in the metadata of this photo by Florian CHOBLET has been modified in AFP systems in the following manner: [snowboard] instead of freestyle skiing]. Please immediately remove the erroneous mention[s] from all your online services and delete it (them) from your servers. If you have been authorized by AFP to distribute it (them) to third parties, please ensure that the same actions are carried out by them. Failure to promptly comply with these instructions will entail liability on your part for any continued or post notification usage. Therefore we thank you very much for all your attention and prompt action. We are sorry for the inconvenience this notification may cause and remain at your disposal for any further information you may require. (Photo credit should read FLORIAN CHOBLET/AFP/Getty Images)
He made this chef very happy. | Florian Choblet/AFP/Getty Images
On Feb. 11, 2018, White shocked and thrilled chef Cha Gwen Sol, who runs the Santa Burger restaurant just a few miles from Phoenix Snow Park where the athlete was competing in the 2018 Winter Games. The South Korean restaurateur is a big fan of White and even named a burger after him called the “Flying Tomato,” so you can imagine his excitement when the snowboarder walked in and ordered it.

The burger costs a whopping one million won, which is about $920 in US dollars, but Sol didn’t think anyone would buy it and made it specifically to wish White well. “The best special thing. This is only for Shaun White. My wish for your gold medal,” the menu description read.

Sol said he cooked it up for free though when White ordered it. “He ordered from me the Flying Tomato Burger and so I cook it for him. Today is a very happy day.”

Follow Michelle Kapusta on Twitter @philamichelle.

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