Snowboarding great Shaun White announces he will retire following Beijing Games

Three-time Olympic gold medalist Shaun White will retire after the 2022 Beijing Games, the American snowboarding great said Saturday.

White, 35, broke onto the scene at the 2006 Olympic Games in Turin, Italy, where he won gold in the halfpipe event, ESPN reported.

He also came away with gold medals at the halfpipe events in Vancouver, Canada, in 2010 and Pyeongchang, South Korea, in 2018.

“In my mind, I’ve decided this will be my last competition,” White , a 15-time X Games champion, said at a news conference Saturday, according to Fox News.

“Usually after the Olympics, I don’t compete much after the Games, because it’s just so much to get here, so much pressure, so much weighing on you that relief is so wanted and needed and then I usually take the season after the Olympics off to just refocus get excited about things again,” he added, Yahoo reported. “But yeah, I think this will be my last— well, it will be my last competition, which is pretty special, too.”

White acknowledged that it was a “sad” moment, but a “joyous” one as well.

“A sad and surreal moment. But joyous, as well. I kind of reflected on things I’ve done and looked at the sun going down and went, ‘Wow, next time I’m here, I won’t be stressed about learning tricks or worried about some competition thing,” he added.

In explaining why he has decided not to compete professionally following the 2022 Olympics, White cited back, ankle, and knee issues.

“They were taking away from days in practice, and I was watching the tricks getting heavier and heavier,” he said. “I was riding down from the halfpipe in Austria, and I got lost, and I had to take this chair back up. And on that chairlift ride, the mountain was closing and I was on my own and I was watching the sun go down, and it hit me: this is it.”

While the 2022 Games may be it for White, he still has a chance to break an important record.

If he were to win a fourth gold medal in the halfpipe event, he’d become “the first Winter Olympian with four golds in the same individual event,” Yahoo reported.

In discussing the legacy he will leave behind after the Beijing Games, White said he hopes his “riding speaks for itself.”

“I’m always trying to push and progress and do the next biggest thing and pick up on what trends are happening in the sport and get ahead of that curve,” he said.