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Snowboarding Legend Shaun White Says 2022 Winter Olympics His 'Last Run'

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVDecember 15, 2021

Shaun White, of United States, reacts following a qualifying run on the halfpipe Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021, at the U.S. Grand Prix snowboarding event at Copper Mountain, Colo. (AP Photo/Hugh Carey)
AP Photo/Hugh Carey

Decorated snowboarding champion Shaun White may be set for his Olympic swansong next year in Beijing.

During an appearance on NBC's Today show Wednesday, White said he "think[s]" the 2022 Winter Olympics will be his "last run" as an Olympic snowboarder:

TODAY @TODAYshow

"This is, I think, my last run." โ€“Snowboarder <a href="https://twitter.com/shaunwhite?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@shaunwhite</a> says <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Beijing2022?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Beijing2022</a> will be his last Olympic Games. <a href="https://t.co/ir9LFRDNyU">pic.twitter.com/ir9LFRDNyU</a>

When asked to explain his decision, White said:

"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 [in the halfpipe]. ... I've prided myself on being that individual. And, man, realizing and admitting to myself and everyone else, 'Yeah, I'm human,' it's taken a toll."

The 35-year-old White is the most successful snowboarder in Olympic history with three gold medals.

Snowboarding was first introduced into the Olympic program in 1998, and White made his Olympic debut during the 2006 Games in Turin, Italy.

White won men's halfpipe gold in Turin 2006 and Vancouver in 2010 before disappointingly failing to make the podium in Sochi, Russia, in 2014, finishing fourth.

The San Diego native earned redemption at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, however, returning to the top of the mountain as the halfpipe gold medalist.

While White was still at the height of his game then, the 18-time Winter X Games medalist recently admitted that snowboarding has taken a greater toll on his body as of late.

According to Tom Schad of USA Today, White said during a media summit that the "day-in and day-out grind" of doing tricks is "getting harder."

White added that it is compounded by the fact that tricks that were once considered top of the line are now commonplace.

The United States' 14 Olympic gold medals and 31 total medals in snowboarding are the most of any nation by far, and White has contributed heavily to the country's success.

If he indeed commits to retiring from Olympic snowboarding after Beijing, White will have one more opportunity to add to the medal count for himself and Team USA.

The 2022 Winter Olympics will run from Feb. 4 through Feb. 20.