VAIL, Colo. — If the world sees Shaun White at an Olympics again, it will be in 2022, not later this year.
The three-time snowboarding champion told The Associated Press that he is taking skateboarding off his plate and won’t try to qualify for that sport’s Olympic debut later this year in Tokyo.
“The decision became less about going for skate and more about, am I willing to walk away from snow?” White said this weekend while attending the Burton U.S. Open. “It just was going in that direction, and I didn’t feel comfortable with it and I can’t wholeheartedly choose this path with what I’ve got going on snow.”
White, who for years was every bit as successful a skateboarder as a snowboarder, had been dangling the possibility of joining the rare group of athletes to compete in both Winter and Summer Games.
White Has Long Excelled in Vert Contests
He has long excelled in vert contests, which most resemble a snowboard halfpipe competition, but is not part of the Olympic program. He was trying to make the switch to park, which combine halfpipes and quarterpipes with stairs and rails. White headed to Brazil last summer to compete at skateboarding world championships, where he finished 13th.
He thought about it for a while and realized the work he’d have to put in to compete against full-time skateboarders for an Olympic spot would compromise his chances of returning to the Winter Games in Beijing for a shot at a fourth gold medal.
“It doesn’t mean I’m committed to going to China, but it doesn’t feel too far-fetched for me,” said the 33-year-old White. “I still feel great and that’s where it got left for me. I’m dipping back into snow, and doing what feels right.”