Shaun White's last Olympic run 

A three-time Olympic gold medallist, snowboard icon White is aiming to bow out in glory at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games, but first he has to qualify or be selected. Find out how here.

By Ken Browne
Picture by 2018 Getty Images

Shocking as it sounds, Shaun White is mortal.

He may have done some immortal things on a snowboard, but now even he's accepted that his wild Olympic ride is coming to an end.

A dream fourth gold medal at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games would be a perfect ending to an iconic career, but in a sport changing at scorching speed, nothing is guaranteed. Not even qualification.

White has another chance to make the USA snowboard team at the Mammoth Mountain World Cup on 6-8 January, where a podium finish should be enough to secure a fifth straight Winter Olympic Games appearance.

If not, he'll need to rely on the Team USA selection process.

Recently, podium finishes have dried up for White. At his last competitive appearance in Copper Mountain on 19 December, the 35-year-old finished seventh, following an eight-place finish two weeks before on the same pipe.

Answers: The most asked questions about Shaun White

Will Shaun White qualify for Beijing 2022 Olympics?

As far as qualifiication for Beijing goes, it's likely he'll be offered a spot on the team by Team USA selectors, regardless of what happens at Mammoth Mountain, with only U.S. boarders Taylor Gold and Chase Josey currently above him on the FIS World Cup standings before Mammoth Mountain.

If he wants to go, then we should see White drop into an Olympic halfpipe for the fifth time in a row - an amazing achievement in itself.

But even he has admitted that at 35, age is more than just a number in a young man's game.

"I think this is my last run" - Shaun White

In mid-December the holder of more Olympic snowboard gold medals than anyone else in history opened up and was honest in an interview with Today.

"I haven’t really said this too much, so it’s going to feel weird coming out of my mouth, but this is I think my last run," he said of the Beijing Games.

"So it’s hard to talk about because my whole life I’ve kind of been looked at as somewhat superhuman because I do these things," White continued.

"And man, realising and admitting to myself and everyone else, yeah, I’m human. It’s taken a toll."

On 19 December up on Copper Mountain he threw his gloves and goggles into the crowd after his final run, posed for photos, signed autographs and said:

“Thank you everyone for being here. This is my last Dew Tour, so thank you. Thank you, Dew Tour. Thank you, everybody here. Appreciate you.”

Shaun White: Acceptance

That was a dramatic shift for White who only a few weeks earlier was talking about competing at Milano Cortina 2026.

“Will this be my last Games? I don't know,” White said about Beijing 2022 at a news conference.

“I always say it might be just because that's how it feels and then… 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 after this.”

Maybe it was the fact that at that Copper Mountain World Cup on 19 Dec, 23-year-old Japanese boarder Ayumu Hirano landed a historic triple cork to grab the headlines, while White finished in seventh - the next generation raising the bar.

Or that another American, Taylor Gold finished second, a podium finish that all but secured him an Olympic spot.

White had also taken a three-year break from the sport after his PyeongChang heroics, and admits that his body doesn't recover the way it used to.

“The body is definitely giving me little signs here and there that the age is a factor at times," he said in October 2021, "and, I'll do probably less training days than the others...

“I took a really bad crash a couple of days ago, and I remember I [used to] bounce back up and feel great… But now I might need a couple more days rest before I get back out there.”

Shaun White's Olympic love affair

The thing is, the Olympics were Shaun White's first love.

Close to qualifying for the Salt Lake City 2002 Games at just 15 years of age, he was already an Olympic champion at 19, doubled his gold reserves at Vancouver 2010, and grabbed a dramatic third at PyeongChang 2018 with a show-stopping final run.

PyeongChang was all the more incredible considering that he finished fourth at Sochi 2014 and many said that the fire had gone out.

The four-year Olympic cycle has marked time for White, and add in his 18 Winter X Games medals, five skateboarding X Games medals, it's no wonder he's finding it hard to face the endgame.

The guts and glory and all that adrenaline aren't easy to leave behind. Now he has one last stand to make, and waving goodbye from a podium in Beijing would arguably be his greatest comeback of all.

His Olympic legacy is already secured.

SNOWBOARD FAN? GET ALL THIS.

Unrivalled news. Latest highlights. Personalised updates.