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Tracing Shaun White's historic halfpipe progression ahead of final comp

Tracing Shaun White's historic halfpipe progression ahead of final comp
Posted at 3:12 PM, Feb 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-08 19:56:19-05

This is it. While sitting on a chairlift as the sun set, Shaun White decided to retire after his final competition: the 2022 Winter Olympics. The stakes are high, too. White is looking for a two-peat to defend his snowboard halfpipe gold medal, but is up against his biggest competitor from PyeongChang, Japan's Ayumu Hirano. Hirano has consistently placed above White in competitions since the 2018 Winter Olympics.

White isn't fazed. He became a legend during his three-time Olympic gold medal-winning career. He set the standard and pushed the limits of snowboard halfpipe tricks with every Olympic run. From the double McTwist 1260 to the double cork 1440, White landed the biggest tricks when he needed them the most.

Here’s a look back at White’s Olympic trick history.

Torino 2006

White made his Olympic debut with a first run that secured gold. His run consisted of a McTwist, frontside 1080, fakie 1080, frontside 900 and backside 900. At the time, the 1080 was the key trick needed to get on the podium. His victory lap highlighted a stylish method, a trick that’s considered a classic even though it doesn’t earn many points.

Trick list:

  • McTwist
  • Frontside 1080
  • Fakie 1080
  • Frontside 900
  • Backside 900

SEE MORE: Torino 2006: Shaun White wins gold in snowboard halfpipe

Vancouver 2010

Vancouver was a turning point in White’s career and the halfpipe discipline. White’s second gold medal cemented his presence as a mainstay in snowboarding and proved how quickly the sport advanced in four years. Instead of a regular McTwist which has a 540-degree rotation and flip, White took the lead with a double McTwist 1260, which includes an additional flip and two more rotations. This trick was groundbreaking during a time in which most riders were stomping double cork 1080s. Although White's first run scored high enough to win gold, White went all out on his victory lap, which included a double cork and double McTwist 1260. He increased his winning score by almost two points from 46.8 to 48.4.

Trick list:

  • Frontside double cork 1080
  • Cab double cork 1080
  • Frontside 540
  • Double McTwist 1260

SEE MORE: Vancouver 2010: Shaun White defends snowboard halfpipe gold

Sochi 2014

Although White missed the podium in Sochi, his run reflects the discipline’s progression since Vancouver. His best attempt consisted of a frontside 1080, cab double cork 1440, frontside 540, double McTwist 1260 and backside rodeo. Iouri Podladtchikov took gold in the event by landing the YOLO flip, a cab double cork 1440, more cleanly than White did. Podladtchikov also performed a double McTwist 1260 and back-to-back double 1080s in his two runs.

Trick list:

  • Frontside 1080
  • Cab double cork 1440
  • Frontside 540
  • Double McTwist 1260
  • Backside rodeo

SEE MORE: Sochi 2014: I-Pod completes 'YOLO,' tops halfpipe podium

PyeongChang 2018

White returned to the Olympic halfpipe with renewed motivation to redeem himself. Two major injuries, including a crash that led to 62 stitches, couldn’t hold White back from aiming for the coveted gold medal. He was in a neck-and-neck battle with Hirano, who stomped two back-to-back 1440s to clinch silver in PyeongChang. White responded with a historic final run that also included two back-to-back double cork 1440s along with a double McTwist 1260 and frontside 1260. The run solidified the need for multiple 1440s to become a gold medal contender.

Trick list:

  • Frontside double cork 1440
  • Cab double cork 1440
  • Frontside 540
  • Double McTwist 1260
  • Frontside 1260

SEE MORE: PyeongChang 2018: Shaun White wins halfpipe gold on last run

During his fifth Olympics, White may bring out the one trick that's eluded him his entire career: the triple cork 1440. White put the trick on the backburner in 2013 when an attempt sent him to the hospital. He has never landed the trick cleanly in competition and it is unknown if he has landed it cleanly in practice. Recently, several competitors have pulled off the triple cork 1440, including Hirano, who used it to secure first place at the Dew Tour Copper 2021.

A podium finish in the final competition of White’s 23-year career may depend on whether or not he stomps the trick.

Men's snowboard halfpipe qualifying takes place Tuesday at 11:30 p.m. ET. Watch on NBCOlympics.com, the NBC Sports App and Peacock.

SEE MORE: How to watch Shaun White at the 2022 Winter Olympics on NBC and Peacock

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