After some setbacks in qualifying and a bout with Covid-19, snowboarding legend Shaun White can relax.
White has been officially selected to the US team for the Beijing Olympics, giving him a shot at a fourth gold medal in his fifth Winter Games -- and giving Beijing a major star attraction in the form of the 35-year-old winter sports icon.
White missed the finals of the last American qualifying event for Beijing in Mammoth Mountain after injuring his ankle in a hard landing in his qualifying heat. That meant he had to go to Switzerland to try to seal a spot on the US team at the Laax Open. He finished third in that event, which was enough to earn him a ticket to Beijing.
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He also tested positive for Covid-19 earlier this month, but is expected to be fully fit for the Olympics, which start on February 4.
“Hopefully the worst is behind me at this point,” white told Olympics.com. ''I had asthma as a kid and I have a heart condition. So you know, anything to do with lungs and respiratory is not so great and it's just been like this lingering cold.
“I’ve got another month (until the Winter Olympics). So let's hope there's not long-term effects.”
White won his first halfpipe gold medal in Turin in 2006 and repeated as champion in 2010. After finishing fourth in Sochi in 2014 he collected a third gold in 2018 in Pyeongchang.
"Every Olympics is different—how I went into Italy was so different from Pyeongchang," White said. "Right now I'm focused on training smarter, not harder. I’m listening to my body and knowing when to push and when to pull back."
The other three members of the US snowboarding team are Red Gerard, Chloe Kim and Jamie Anderson.
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