Three-time Olympic snowboarding gold medalist Shaun White will turn his focus away from making the US skateboarding team for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, so he can prepare to defend his halfpipe title in Beijing in 2022, he told the Associated Press this weekend.
“The decision became less about going for a skate and more about, am I willing to walk away from snow?” White said. “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.”
Skateboarding is one of four new sports on the Olympic program for the Tokyo Games, and it seemed a natural jump for White, whose skateboarding talent was recognized when he was a child by the legendary Tony Hawk. After spotting his talent at a California skate park when White was just 9 years old, Hawk took White under his wing and mentored him for several years, writes Team USA.
White was the first athlete to take gold at the Summer and Winter X Games in two different sports. His five Summer X Games medals between 2005 and 2011 came in the vert, or halfpipe event, which is not the same as the park event that will debut in Tokyo this summer.
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White had taken a break from snowboarding since his victory in PyeongChang in 2018 to focus on skateboarding but certainly hasn’t ruled out making a run at the 2022 Olympics, where he would be 35.