(NEXSTAR) – The 2022 Winter Games will be Shaun White’s last. White, 35, announced Saturday that the Beijing Olympics will mark his fifth and final appearance at the Winter Games — and his last appearance in any competition, period.
“In my mind, I think I’ve decided this will be my last competition,” White said at a press conference in Beijing.
The three-time gold medalist said he came to the decision late last year, while training for the 2022 Winter Games and getting himself lost on a mountain in Austria.
He called it a “sad and surreal moment,” albeit a “joyous” one.
“I kind of reflected on things I’ve done and looked at the sun going down and went, ‘Wow, next time I’m here, I won’t be stressed about learning tricks or worried about some competition thing,’” said White, who also battled an ankle injury and a bout of COVID-19 on the road to this year’s games.
White has often taken a season or two away from competition after each of his Olympic appearances, something he described as a “relief” from the pressures of competing.
White, however, isn’t planning on hanging up his board for good, but rather continuing outside of competition, citing urban and backcountry snowboarders who largely stay out of the “limelight.”
“I’m excited for that next chapter,” White said.
White will defend his title at the snowboard halfpipe during qualifying rounds on Feb. 9 ahead of the finals on Feb. 11.