Shaun White Secures 1st Snowboard Halfpipe Podium Since 2018

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 15, 2022

Shaun White, of the United States, after his third run in the snowboarding halfpipe finals, Sunday, Dec. 19, 2021, during the Dew Tour at Copper Mountain, Colo. (AP Photo/Hugh Carey)
AP Photo/Hugh Carey

Ahead of his Olympic swan song next month in Beijing, Shaun White finished third in the men's snowboarding halfpipe at the Laax Open in Switzerland on Saturday.

According to NBC Sports OlympicTalk, that marked White's first podium finish since 2018, as he took a three-year break from snowboarding following the 2018 Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.

NBC Olympics @NBCOlympics

SHAUN WHITE HAS ARRIVED‼️<a href="https://twitter.com/usskiteam?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@usskiteam</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LaaxOpen?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#LaaxOpen</a> <a href="https://t.co/z2REQjEfVi">pic.twitter.com/z2REQjEfVi</a>

Per OlympicTalk, White is expected to be one of four male snowboarders named to Team USA for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

White told Matt Sullivan of Rolling Stone this week that the 2022 Winter Olympics will "for sure" be the final one of his illustrious career.

The 35-year-old White, who is set to make his fifth Olympic appearance, is the most decorated snowboarder in Olympic history.

He is one of only two male snowboarders to win three Olympic medals, and all three of those medals are gold.

White made his Olympic debut in Turin, Italy, in 2006 and won gold, and he followed it up with another gold medal at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.

After shockingly finishing off the podium in fourth at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, White returned to the top of the sport in 2018 in PyeongChang by winning his third halfpipe gold.

OlympicTalk noted that White played it somewhat safe Saturday, as he cruised on his second run since he was already assured of being the top-finishing American.

He also didn't attempt a double cork 1440, which is the trick that helped him finish atop the podium four years ago.

Meanwhile, Beijing favorite Ayumu Hirano of Japan hit consecutive 1440s and won the event with a score of 93.25, while White scored an 84.

Entering his final Olympics, White seems to be favoring health and availability, and the fact that he was still able to finish third without pulling out his best stuff could bode well for his chances of medaling.

If neither White nor any other American finishes on the podium in men's halfpipe in Beijing, it will mark only the second time that has happened since snowboarding was introduced to the Olympic program in 1998.