16 years after his first Olympic gold, snowboard legend Shaun White (35) defied covid-19 and an ankle bang – and went “all in” to show that he is good enough for Olympic number five.
It ended with third place in the World Cup final in Laax, Switzerland in his last Olympic chance on Saturday, which most likely gives him the opportunity to defend the gold from 2018.
– Are these signals that I should retire?
That was the question Shaun White, according to a interview with Rolling Stone Wednesday, posed when he last week was to confirm that he is good enough for a ticket to the Beijing Olympics from 4 to 20 February. He almost had to do that at home, in the World Cup in Mammoth Lake in California. Just in advance, he was diagnosed with covid-19 infection. However, the fully vaccinated White – called “The Flying Tomato” because of its hair color – was quickly healed.
But the disease had not completely let go. Somewhat exhausted and “light-headed”, he landed trickily during training in front of the halfpipe competition, so that the ankle “stuck”. He followed the advice to withdraw. Thus, he had to throw himself on the plane to Switzerland to reach the very last Olympic opportunity.
In Laax was White, after a good qualification (81.80 points for best run), one of 12 riders in the semi-final. The American superstar delivered a fantastic first run in the final and was paid with the score 84.00. It held to a third place behind Japanese Ayumu Hirano (93.25) and Swiss Jan Scherrer (90.00).
It was White’s first place on the podium since the Olympic gold in 2018, in his fifth competition after returning from a three-year competition break. Therefore, most indications are as, among others, NBC Sports writes, that the American Olympic Committee takes out his board superstar – and gives him the opportunity to defend the Olympic gold medal from 2018 and take his fourth gold in China.
Shaun White defended the Torino gold medal in 2006 at the Vancouver Olympics 2010, where Ståle Sandbech (28) then – 16 years old – became Norway’s youngest Olympic debutant after figure skating legend Sonja Henie.
In 2004, 18-year-old Shaun White responded questions from VG in the online innovation «Close to the Web».
In South Korea four years ago, White was behind leading Ayumu Hirano ahead of the last run (lap), but clinked with a trick he had never dared to do before and the referee score 97.75 (out of a maximum of 100) in the competition’s last run. He beat the Japanese with 2.50 points.
Well worth noting after a long break from snowboarding after the Olympic downturn with 4th place in Sochi in 2014, and after he a few months before the Pyeongchang comeback had literally walked on his face at the edge of an ice-hard halfpipe – with 62 stitches in his face as a consequence.
Shaun White’s gold medal in Pyeongchang was America’s number one hundred in the Winter Olympics. White himself characterized it as the end of a fairy tale. If another chapter is added to it in Beijing, he is clear that it will be his last in snowboarding history.
Shaun White, who underwent two heart surgeries as a child, has spoken with skateboard legend Tony Hawk (53) about what awaits after his career as an active in the world top. Hawk thinks he should have given up earlier considering everything he missed when he was just skating. Shaun White says that as an ex snowboarder he will take up schooling he missed as a young man, he wants children and to establish a family, with the famous Canadian actress Nina Dobrev (33) – who is followed by 25 million fans on Instagram.
Shaun White admits that he has had a romantic dream of ending his snowboarding career where he broke through as a 19-year-old, namely at the Olympics in Italy in 2026.
– I have acknowledged that “wow, some things are not where they used to be.” It takes longer to train, it’s harder. It’s these little characters I’ve noticed. And then it finally hit me one day. I trained in Austria a couple of months ago, where it dawned on me: “You know what? This is enough “, he says in the interview with Rolling Stone.