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Legendary snowboarder Shaun White has decided to retire from Olympic competition after his run at the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing.
White released a lengthy statement Friday, saying he had “slid down the halfpipe at the Olympics for the final time.”
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“Typing this now makes me just as emotional as I felt last Friday,” he said. “It brings me tears of joy. It has been a rollercoaster of emotions and I am overwhelmed with appreciation. Closing this chapter of my life has made me reflect on the past 22 years as a professional snowboarder with gratitude.”
White thanked the late Jake Burton, who was one of the inventors of the modern snowboard, as well as his family.
“I want to thank Jake Burton and the entire Carpenter family for supporting me for so many years. Jake revolutionized this sport. He gave me my first snowboard and my first sponsorship at the age of 7 … I wish he could have been at the bottom of the halfpipe in Beijing, just as he was at every other Olympics prior. I miss you dearly, my friend. Thank you,” he added.
“Thank you to my team. My coach, JJ Thomas, my physical therapist, Esther Lee, my broad technician, Kenny Kunalt and my trainer, Jason Walsh and many others. I couldn’t have done it without each and every one of you. The long hours of mental, physical preparation and support are what got me to where I am today. Still competing at the Olympics at 35. It takes a village, and I am so incredibly lucky to have had such wonderful and talented humans in my corner over the years.
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“Thank you to my parents, Cathy and Roger, my sister Kari and my brother Jesse who believed in me every step of the way. We all shared a love of the sport that gave us countless priceless memories. I will cherish them forever. The early mornings driving to the mountains, the 5 of us living in the family van, always trying to one up each other on the slopes. Your guidance, patients, love (and s—t talking) are the reason I am who I am, and the reason I am where I am. I love you.”
White thanked legendary pro skateboarder Tony Hawk, too.
“Thank you, Tony Hawk. You were my role model at such a young age and I’m beyond grateful, so many years later, to call you a good friend. I don’t think you’ll ever truly know what a positive influence you were on my life. Tony showed me the ropes … (and took me under his wing when it wasn’t cool to have a 8 year old pimply face redhead kid around).
White then wrapped up, saying it’s not necessarily the end for him.
“Snowboarding was my first love. Like any new relationship, it was intoxicating. Snowboarding gave me a rush, made me feel invincible, filled my life with adventure. It gave me purpose and I got to be creative. I’ve always been a passionate and fierce competitor. I will of course miss snowboarding professionally, but this won’t be the last time you see (me) cruising down the mountain.
“I’m so proud of the last 2 decades of wins, losses, ups, downs, blood, sweat, tears, and everything in between because they have made me who I am today. I am beyond humbled and grateful for this beautiful journey. It has been an honor and a privilege. This has been the ride of my life! ‘Retirement’ sounds like the end, but for me it’s just the beginning.
“The future looks bright…”
White had been competing in the Olympics since the 2006 Games in Torino. He won three gold medals in the halfpipe competition with his final gold coming in the 2018 Pyeongchang Games.
In 2022, he finished in fourth place.
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White said he would now put his time and effort into White Space and building products for the next crop of young and talented snowboarders. He launched the lifestyle brand weeks before the start of the 2022 Games.