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Shaun White reconfirmed his big decision to retire from competitive snowboarding after the Beijing Winter Olympics in a press conference at the event. The 3-time Olympic gold medallist earlier revealed Beijing would be his final Olympic contest, but now seems to have taken the decision to step away for good from every competitive format. 

Although the decision does not come as much of a shock given White’s age, it can be perceived as the end of an era like when Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps called it on their glorious careers. The Winter Olympic veteran may not be the young competitor anymore, but age was just a part factor in what made him arrive at the decision. 

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“I was in Austria. The pipe wasn’t in the best condition. I had this ankle issue which prevented me from competing further at the Mammoth qualification,” White was quoted telling reporters by CNN. “I had this knee issue from where I had surgery in the summer before, and I injured my back working out randomly.”

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Shaun White has had his brush with accidents

White is no stranger to big injuries; no winter athlete is. In October 2017, he suffered one of the most gruesome injuries of his career. Losing his position in the air, White crashed and was left a bloody mess with a deep gash in his forehead and a ghastly cut on the upper lip. White won gold in the Pyeongchang Olympics the following year.

Rewind to January 2014, the snowboarder had a huge accident trying to land the triple cork, a move that no snowboarder had ever done before then. White’s biggest competitor, Ayumu Hirano, recently conquered it. White also had a near brush with horror at a young age when an older snowboarder collided with him on the practice field. The event made Shaun wear helmets at all times while training and performing. 

The snowboarder decided over a symbolic sunset

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With age, recovering from injuries becomes a lot harder and relapses are very common. White soon made his decision while staring at sunset at the end of a training session. “It was a very sad and surreal moment, but very joyous as well,” he said. “I reflected on all the things I’ve done, and looked at that sunset going down, and I thought: ‘Next time I’m here I won’t be stressed about learning tricks.”

Read More“He Knows When the Time Is”: Nina Dobrev Backs Shaun White’s Decision to Retire Post Beijing Winter Olympics 2022

“I won’t be worried about some kind of competition. I’ll just purely be here to enjoy the resort, maybe check out other runs besides the halfpipe for once.”

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Shaun White is making the most of his journey, as is evident from his live streams on Instagram. “The Flying Tomato” may be on the last stretch of his career, but still has the enthusiasm of that 19-year-old that won everyone’s hearts. Now 35, he is ready to do that all over again for the last time.