Shaun White publicly declared that the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing will be his last.
“I haven’t really said this too much, so it’s going to feel weird coming out of my mouth — but this is, I think, my last run,” the pro snowboarder told NBC’s Craig Melvin in an interview filmed earlier this week.
Double checking that he heard correctly, Melvin asked, “No matter what, this is it?”
White, 35, confirmed, “I think so, yeah.”
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) December 15, 2021
The four-time Olympian has collected three gold medals throughout his career- the halfpipe in 2006, 2010 and at the most recent 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang. White holds the current record for most Olympic gold medals (three) earned by a snowboarder in history.
White, who took his career to the Olympics when he first competed in 2006 at age 19, also happens to be the most recognized athlete in X Games history with 13 gold medals out of 18 medallions.
Speaking about the likelihood of leaving behind the sport he loves most, White seemed to be overwhelmed with emotion.
“It’s hard to talk about because my whole life I’ve kind of been looked at as somewhat superhuman because I do these things,” the Olympian said in his interview with NBC.
“I’ve prided myself on being that individual. And, man, realizing and admitting to myself and everyone else, ‘Yeah, I’m human.’ It’s taken a toll,” he added.
Back in October, the athlete noted at a Team USA media summit that he had recently suffered an injury from a bad halfpipe crash, which took a greater toll on his body than it would have if he was younger.
At the time, White said, “I will admit, it is getting harder…The day in and day out and the grind of doing these tricks.”
But, one thing that’ll remain is the snowboarder’s love for the sport. “It’s such an interesting sport,” White said. “It’s one of the only sports in the world where you can kind of create something and be the best. So we’ll see what happens in the next few months leading up to the games, but I am very excited to be in the running for it.”
The 2022 Winter Games will begin in February, airing on NBC and Peacock.