Legendary snowboarder and perhaps most widely-known redhead Shaun White has announced that this year’s Olympics will be his last. White has earned three Olympic gold medals during his career since his world debut in Turin, Italy at age 19. Now, 16 years later, the halfpipe snowboarder is hanging up his Team USA uniform for good.
Shaun White announced his retirement ahead of the snowboarding event in this year’s Olympics in Beijing. During a conference, the 35-year-old Team USA athlete broke the bittersweet news ahead of the men’s halfpipe event on February 9.
“I think this will be my, well this will be my last competition too, which is pretty special,” White said, pere New York Post.
Shaun White Updates Fans on Social Media about Retirement
On Instagram, Shaun White has kept his fans updated on the latest developments of his career. From pregame news to behind-the-scenes snapshots, the athlete has been more than happy to share his journey through his last Olympics with the world.
In one post, White even took a look back at the one Olympics in which he didn’t come away with a medal – Sochi 2014. As heartbreaking as the results were, it taught him an important lesson about his motivation and passion for the sport.
“To be honest, I had been losing motivation to compete and I planned to win this last medal and retire. I had a run I felt I could win, but after scrubbing the landing on my third hit — it was all over. I was devastated,” White admitted in the post.
He continued, “I had never been to an Olympics and lost. I had the horrible feeling of failure and this was not how I wanted my career to end.”
“I felt lost and had no idea how I could motivate myself for another four years to have another chance. Little did I know I was being taught an incredibly valuable lesson: that things don’t always go as planned in life, but that’s ok. We grow from the hard times and these are the moments to reflect and appreciate the things you do have and look forward to the next goal with experience,” Shaun White said.
Team USA Snowboarder Describes the Moment When He Decided to Retire
Of course, the decision to hang up his Olympic medals for good didn’t come easily. Shaun White has led an incredible and noble career with hardly any marks against him. He has represented his country honorably since he was a teenager, but now, he’s ready for the next chapter of his life.
According to White, the decision came to him during a quiet moment alone. The snowboarder took a chairlift over top of an empty mountain.
“I was watching … the sun go down and it just hit me,” he said. “It was very sad and a surreal moment but really joyous as well.”