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Gazette Premium Content SOCHI SCENE: A Shaun White hug

Associated Press Updated: February 11, 2014 at 10:54 am

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia — Hours before he went for the win, Shaun White already had delivered a gold-medal moment.

Shortly after qualifying for the Olympic halfpipe final Tuesday, White vaulted the barriers separating him from the fans and gave two young cancer patients high-fives and hugs.

"I thought, 'He's here? What?'" said Ben Hughes, a 10-year-old from St. Louis who was diagnosed with leukemia four years ago.

Also sharing the love was 19-year-old Kaitlyn Lyle, who, like Hughes, was in Russia courtesy of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Lyle said she had "liked" White on his Facebook page.

"I had no idea he'd do this," she said.

She was diagnosed a bit before the Vancouver Olympics and her wish was to come to Russia, where she was torn between asking for tickets for figure skating or snowboarding.

"But when I saw Shaun win gold (in Vancouver), I chose snowboarding," she said.

Good choice.

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