Skateboarding champion Shaun White has dropped out of an important Olympic qualifier this week reportedly due to lingering COVID-19 symptoms, including fatigue and shortness of breath. The AP reports that White chose not to compete in the U.S. Grand Prix at Mammoth Mountain on Saturday, and White has not publicly disclosed the reason for his withdrawal. Instead, an insider who chose to remain anonymous cited the COVID-19 issues as the reason he didn't hit the slopes. However, the 35-year-old still Intends to compete in Beijing next month.
"(White) just wants to train and keep working hard and keep getting better," U.S. coach Mike Jankowski said Saturday night. "He's hoping the spot where he's at now holds solid and that he's able to get the nomination to the team."
"I unfortunately got Covid over the holidays, and now I'm bouncing back from it, and it's not been a fun experience," White told Olympics.com on Thursday. I'm just thankful that like I started testing negative before this competition, so I'm allowed to compete because that would have been a real frustrating position to be in to where, you know, it's the last qualifier and I can't ride."
White also has some health conditions that can make COVID-19 more severe. "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," White explained. The Opening Ceremony in Beijing will take place on Feb. 4, 2022. The closing ceremony is set for Feb. 20, 2022. The competition will begin two days before the Opening Ceremony preliminaries in curling. White does not know if he will be part of the men's snowboard team for the trip to China, but, hopefully, his recent 4th place performance in Aspen will make up for missing Mammoth Mountain.