Shaun White celebrates after winning the men's halfpipe final at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 on Feb. 14, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea.
No longer the fresh-faced kid in a sport that is constantly evolving and favors youth, Shaun White is back on his snowboard to find out if he still has enough left in the tank to reach his fifth Olympic Winter Games.
“It’s so exciting, back at it again,” said the 35-year-old three-time gold medalist in the halfpipe, “feeling solid, feeling a little seasoned.”
White was speaking last week as part of the Team USA Media Summit from Saas-Fee, Switzerland, where he was training with the U.S. team. There, he watched recently as his younger teammates made incredible advances in just days.
“Two riders have done triples in the halfpipe now,” said White, adding that he abandoned the trick after some bad crashes in 2013. “The trick’s done before you get to the wall. You’re committed to do three flips in the air. And it’s just amazing to see that that’s where the sport’s heading.
“It’s such an interesting sport. It’s one of the only sports in the world where you can kind of create something and be the best. So, we’ll see what happens in the next few months here leading up to the Games.”
Already a legend in the sport, White won his first Olympic gold medal at the 2006 Winter Games in Torino, then successfully defended it four years later with an iconic performance in Vancouver. He won a third gold medal in 2018 in PyeongChang, and is also a 23-time medalist — in snowboarding and skateboarding — at the X Games.
White, who abandoned his attempt to make the U.S. men’s skateboarding team for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, where the sport made its Olympic debut, will soon find out if he has what it takes to reach the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 in February. He plans to leave it all out on the snow between now and then.
“I’m going to give it everything I have for this Games, like I do every time, and see where the chips fall,” White said. “I will say every single time is different. Who knew that a world pandemic was going to happen and the ability to train was going to be very, very minimal?
“But we’re all in this together. I just look at it as another challenge. I’m just kind of focusing day to day. It’s been a test.”