Beijing: The Flying Tomato wants this to be its last start.
Shaun White, a three-time gold medalist in snowboarding, made it clear on Saturday that the Beijing Games will not only be his last Olympics, but that the 35-year-old American plans to retire from the sport he has on the international map. set after the halfpipe medal round. week.
“In my mind I have decided that this will be my last game,” he said.
White has been a superlative for snowboarding, the most recognizable face for nearly two decades and not just because of the bush of red hair that inspired his nickname.
Those locks have since been chopped and White is now an elder statesman for the sport, stumbling towards his fifth Olympics after a season marred by an ankle injury, a battle with COVID-19, a belated unplanned trip to Switzerland to secure his Olympic spot. and, most recently, a workout plan that was kicked out of the schedule during his January sojourn in Colorado.
“I pinch myself a bit how lucky I am to still be here at this age,” he said during a 45-minute reflective press conference.
white won gold on its Olympic debut in 2006, just the third time halfpipe snowboarding has been held at the Winter Games. The sport became hugely popular with him at the forefront and he won gold again in 2010 and 2018. He also holds 15 X-Games gold, 13 in snowboarding and two as a skateboarder.
White will hardly be a favorite for a fourth half-pipe gold when the final is held on Friday. Japan’s Ayumu Hirano, who finished second to White in 2018, became the first to land a triple cork in a competition in December, and the three-flip trick is unlikely to be in White’s favor.
White said he alternates between trying to enjoy every moment of the last big week of competition of his life and knowing there’s work to do when the halfpipe opens for Sunday practice.
He said he decided he was ready in the run-up to the Beijing Games, a moment that crystallized when he got lost on a mountain during a soul-sucking training stop in Austria in November.
“A sad and surreal moment,” he said. “But also cheerful. I thought a little bit about things I’ve done and looked at the setting sun and thought, ‘Wow, next time I’m here I won’t be stressed about learning tricks or worrying about a competition thing’.
NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE
Norway sails to a second straight on top of the Winter Games medal count after a gold start.
Cross-country skier Therese Johaug won the first gold medal of the Beijing Olympics in the women’s 15-kilometer ski race, and Johannes Thingnes Boe led his French and Russian rivals in the final meters of the mixed relay to bring Norway gold in the first biathlon competition.
Johaug battled wind and frigid temperatures to ski away from a chase group of four. She has 10 world championships, but had never won an individual Olympic gold medal before.
Boe, Quentin Fillon Maillet of France and Eduard Latypov of the Russian team left the range close together after the final firing lap and raced for position until the final stretch, when Boe sprinted for the win.
Norway, which came in as the World Cup leader in the relay, also got strong performances from Marte Olsbu Roeiseland and Tarjei Boe. But they were behind early in the race as Tiril Eckhoff struggled on the range.
RECORDING ON ICE
Irene Schouten gave the mighty Dutchman a gold medal in the first skating event of the Beijing Games, breaking a 20-year-old Olympic record in the women’s 3,000 meters.
Schouten skated in the last of 10 pairs and put down a blazing fast last lap to score a winning time of 3 minutes 56.93 seconds. That broke the previous Olympic figure of 3:57.70 set by Germany’s Claudia Pechstein during the 2002 Salt Lake City Games.
In a fitting bookend to the event, Pechstein skated in the opening pair to become the oldest female athlete in Olympic history at 49. The German finished last, more than 20 seconds behind the winner.
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