In a sport where youth can trump experience, three-time Olympic gold medal-winning snowboarder Shaun White wears his age as a “badge of honour” as he vies to compete at a fifth Games.
The American was 19 when he won his first gold at the 2006 Turin Games and cemented his legacy as the most successful snowboarder of all time when he triumphed in dramatic fashion at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.
Now 35 and hoping to compete in Beijing next year, White said he was adapting to his status as the elder statesman of his sport.
“I’ve been the youngest competitor as long as I can remember but I wear it now as somewhat of a badge of honour in a sense,” White told reporters at the USOPC media summit.
“To be on top of a sport that’s ever-changing and for this amount of time, it’s been a challenge.”
Staying on top has been as much a mental challenge as a physical one, he said, after settling for fourth place at the 2014 Sochi Games and having to once again harness his passion for competing.
White clinched gold in 2018 on his final run in the halfpipe final, earning a 97.75 for a spectacular display.
“In Sochi, I’d lost something; I’d lost this edge that I had,” White said.
“It was (a) really emotional and sort of heavy journey to find that again.”
The 13-time Winter X Games champion said he would not rule out another Olympic bid, after updating virtually every element of his routine from how he trains and spends his time on the hill to how he approaches his diet and sleep.
“I always say it might be (the last) just because it is how it feels,” the Californian said.
“Time kind of keeps moving on and I’m thinking, ‘Gosh, I feel pretty good, I’m motivated, I’m excited’ and then boom, I’m at the next Olympics.
“So I wouldn’t count the next one out.”
Places on the US snowboard halfpipe Olympic team will be allocated based on rankings and performances in qualifying events, according to US Ski & Snowboard.
The Fort News