Shaun White ends bid to compete at Olympics' first skateboarding event

Shaun White will not go forward with his attempt at qualifying for skateboarding in the summer Olympics. (Christophe SIMON / AFP via Getty Images)

Shaun White, a five-time X Games skateboard medalist in the late 2010s, will not compete in skateboarding’s Olympic debut later this year in Tokyo.

White, who took a long break from the sport but returned in 2018 with the Olympics in mind, said he wants to return to focusing on his snowboarding career. He will not continue training to qualify.

“The decision became less about going for skate and more about, am I willing to walk away from snow?” White said, via the Associated Press. “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, 33, had to work his way back into the sport after taking time off and said he was lightening his snowboard load to do it. He also had to overcome adjusting to a different style. He won his X Games medals in vert, a style resembling the snowboard halfpipe. The styles contested at the Olympics are “park” and “street.” He finished 13th at the world championships park event in Brazil last September.

White, the “Flying Tomato”, is best known for his success in the winter Olympics with three golds. But White got his start in skateboarding and was mentored as a child by Tony Hawk.

“I’ve been a professional skateboarder since I was 16 years old and I’ve always loved skateboarding,” White said, via Team USA. “I lost a bit of the desire to compete in skateboarding because winter/summer/winter/summer, it just became too much physically and mentally on me, but now that the Olympics has taken on skateboarding, it’s kind of brought this life into me and my want to compete in skateboarding again.”

The 2022 Olympic winter games are in Beijing and he could compete for a fourth gold medal, though he has yet to commit to competing at his fifth games.

“It doesn’t mean I’m committed to going to China, but it doesn’t feel too far-fetched for me,” White said, via the Associated Press. “I still feel great and that’s where it got left for me. I’m dipping back into snow, and doing what feels right.”

He has 18 Winter X Games medals, 13 of which are gold, and is a legend in the sport.

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