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Shaun White Steps Back From Snowboarding to Make a 2020 Olympics Bid

Shaun White

Shaun White has been associated with extreme sports for most of his life. Discovered by legendary skateboarder Tony Hawk when he was just nine years old, White has shown to be a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to skateboarding and snowboarding. Although snowboarding might be what he is most associated with, his skateboarding prowess cannot be denied. ‘

Because of this, White’s recent announcement to focus on skateboarding for the Olympics should not surprise anyone. 

Shaun White’s announcement

White’s initial announcement spoke more about his break from snowboarding than his direct plans for the future. However, many read between the lines and presumed that the 23-time X Games winner was probably going back to his roots as a skateboarder. Before this, his only Olympic experience was in the winter games, where he has won three gold medals since 2006.

Shaun White has fought back at claims that he is retiring from snowboarding, but his break does put his career into perspective.

Skateboarding in the Olympics?

The idea of skateboarding as an Olympic sport may surprise some people. It was added, along with four other sports, by the International Olympic Committee for a test-run in the 2020 games in Tokyo. While extreme sports dominate the winter games, skateboarding had never found its place in the games, until now. 

The competition will feature men and women from both the street disciplines, which focuses more on rails and ledges and park discipline, which will focus more on vert tricks. The skaters will compete in teams, but the numbers have not been confirmed. While many may think of the Americans as the favorites, this may not be the case, as the Australian team may be one to be reckoned with

Shaun White’s skating history

While many extreme athletes fail to become household names, Shaun White has been one for well over a decade. His skating career has been more sporadic than his snowboarding history has, but it does not mean that White’s an amateur. It was, after all, what made him catch the eye of Tony Hawk, and like Hawk, White has had a skateboarding video game named after him. 

To this day, he is the only skateboarder to have landed a body varial frontside 540, and he was the first to land the McTwist 1260. White even made headlines multiple times when he claimed that he was going to try to become the first skater to land a 1080, a trick that has yet to be accomplished by even the most gifted skaters.

While he may not have completed that trick, it is clear that White is ready for a new challenge. 

What comes next?

White flirted with the possibility of focusing more on skating during 2018, but he only competed in one event. He is believed to be focusing on the street discipline, which will let him combine his high-flying snowboard prowess with the grinds and rail tricks that are associated with snowboarding. However, even if White wants to compete in the Olympics, it doesn’t mean that he will be a shoe-in. 

Like any other sport, the Olympic skateboarding team will require tryouts, and while White has shown that he can hang with the best skateboarders, many of them have devoted themselves to the sport, while he has gone in and out of it for many years. Nobody will be surprised if White makes it onto the Skateboard team. If he does not make it onto the team, however, it does not mean that he has failed. 

The Olympics are for the best of the best in sports both big and small. If White makes it in, he very well could add another winning chapter to an already storied career.