Shaun White

Shaun White Jokes of Comeback, Talks Retirement Plans on ‘TODAY'

The snowboarding legend retired last week after competing in his fifth and final Olympic Games

When asked about the end of his snowboarding career on Wednesday, Shaun White briefly teased a comeback.

“I mean, there is still that urge of like, ‘Well, I could just train in private and then just show up in four years,’” he said while appearing on NBC's "TODAY."  

The five-time Olympian, who retired after competing at the 2022 Winter Games, then quickly dashed any hopes of one last appearance at the Games.

“No, I feel great about it,” he said of his decision to retire. “Really feel fortunate. I spoke to a lot of athletic friends of mine and I’m so thankful that I got to choose when I wanted to walk out and how I got to do it, enjoy every little moment until that day. So, I feel very fortunate about that.”

White, the 35-year-old and three-time gold-medal winner, put the finishing touches on his career last week, finishing fourth in the halfpipe.

Shaun White’s epic Olympic career came to a poignant end when he finished the Men’s Snowboard Halfpipe Final in fourth place on Friday. He gave an emotional interview to NBCLX storyteller Ngozi Ekeledo after the competition in which he reflected on the impact he’s had on his sport.

While on "TODAY," White watched highlights of his first Olympic appearance at the age of 19. “The hair back then was a thing,” he said of his former trademark long, red locks.

He was asked what he would say to his younger self.  

“I’d say, ‘Buckle up, it just gets crazier',” White said. “No, I don’t know. I think that’s what’s so amazing about this career of mine. I mean look at the halfpipes, look at the tricks we were doing. To see where it’s come from that point to today, I was just too proud to be part of that progression of the sport. And now I think I’m handing it off to really capable and amazing athletes to take it from here.”

Those athletes lined up and applauded after White’s final run to honor the legend before he officially snowboarded off into the sunset.

“That’s when the emotions came pouring out and I just started thinking about this whole career, over 20 years of competing at the Olympics,” White said. “It’s all I ever wanted and to do it and to finally put a stamp on the end, it felt great.”

After returning home from Beijing, and being surprised by friends and family at the airport, White checked off the first thing on his retirement to-do list by going straight to the Super Bowl in Los Angeles.

“I had this list of what I wanted to do, things to check off after I had the time, for retirement,” White said. “On that list, I had never been to Super Bowl. So, it was like right straight there, check something off the list.”

What else does White plan to check off on the list now that he’s free in the winters?

Traveling, staying involved in the industry through his brand Whitespace, and being home for birthdays and holidays.  

“And I think vacation,” White said. “Somewhere warm.”

When asked, White was also open to the idea of broadcasting.

“Yeah, I’d love to,” he said. “I love being on this side of things, chatting with everybody. I feel like I have pretty good insight so I can get some good questions to the athletes. Give me the invite, I’ll definitely back you guys up.”

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