Shaun White hopes, for one final Olympics, he can be Shaun White again
Five Olympics. 13 X Games gold medals. Shaun White has led a legendary career in the snowboard halfpipe. He knows it, and his peers know it. But at 35, White is not yet ready to give up on the sport that has defined his life thus far. Not until he enters an Olympic pipe, one last time.
Washington Post writer Les Carpenter chronicles the inner turmoil that has led White to decide to retire after the Games in Beijing. The nagging pain in his knee and ankle, the need to take days off from practice, athletes 13 years his junior pushing him to his limit in competition, and the imminent progression of a sport that he helped define for so many years.
For White to reach this decision, it had to be entirely his own.
“I’m not, like, going to just hand it over,” he says. “I’m not going to walk away. I’m going to give it everything I have at this Olympics. It’s my title to defend.
“But knowing what was lying on the other side of this Olympics kind of gave me a second wind,” he continues. “And we’re like: ‘Okay, well, if this is the choice and this is the decision, I can let this crumble me and I’ll crawl away and give up or like, ‘Hey, this is your last go: Let’s be safe, let’s do this thing, but let’s push it to the point of breaking.’ ”