Jan 31, 2022 - Sports

Shaun White will try to go out on top in final Winter Olympics

Shaun White during the 2021 Dew Tour.
Shaun White during the Dew Tour 2021. Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

U.S. snowboarder Shaun White will be participating in his fifth and final Winter Olympics in Beijing at age 35, and will be looking to earn his fourth gold.

Driving the news: Getting to Beijing was no easy feat, as White struggled with injuries and a bout with COVID in December. Now, the three-time gold medalist will try to go out on top against the next generation.

Background: White helped usher snowboarding into the mainstream when he burst on the scene in 2006 as a 19-year-old gold medalist. 16 years and a plethora of highlights later, he's making his fifth and final trip to the Games.

  • White has won three gold medals, and has had a dominant career in snowboard halfpipe.

What he's saying: "It's my title to defend," said White, who's third on the U.S. team behind Taylor Gold (7 years younger) and Chase Josey (9 years younger), and ahead of newcomer Lucas Foster (13 years younger).

  • On retirement, White explained his decision in an interview with Rolling Stone saying, "It takes me longer to practice; it’s harder. It’s these little signs that have been coming to me.”

The event: The Olympics feature five snowboarding events, but White is here for one thing: the halfpipe.

  • Format: 25 athletes get two runs each in the qualifying round, with only their best score counting. The top 12 make the finals, comprising three more runs. Again, only the best score counts.
  • Who to watch: White's biggest competition is 23-year-old Ayumu Hirano of Japan, who's won back-to-back silver medals and recently became the first snowboarder to land a triple cork in competition.
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