Shaun White Hits the Slopes for First Olympic Qualifying Event

Shaun White hit the slopes in Aspen, Colorado over the weekend for the U.S. Grand Prix, the first [...]

Shaun White hit the slopes in Aspen, Colorado over the weekend for the U.S. Grand Prix, the first of four Olympic qualifying events. White had a strong performance in his first competition in three years, but he ultimately fell short of the podium. He finished fourth overall while Japan's Totsuka Yuto won with a 91.75 run.

White posted a series of photos on Instagram Monday that showed him at various points of his final run. One showed him more than 20 feet in the air while pulling off a trick. Another showed him celebrating with his board in his arms. White also provided video footage of his final run, which featured several impressive tricks. The highlight was his signature Double McTwist 1260.

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"My first contest in 3 years [amazed emoji]" White wrote on Instagram. "Happy to walk away with a fourth-place finish at the first Olympic qualifier yesterday! I was 1st place out of the American riders, which puts me in a good position heading into the next winter season and making the team for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics! Let's go."

White has the goal of returning to the Winter Olympics after securing the gold medal in 2018. At 34 years old, he has the opportunity to become the oldest U.S. Olympic halfpipe rider in history. "A little nervous. Obviously, it's been a minute," White told NBC Sports before the competition. "I'm like, I know how to do this, but I'm just kind of shaking off the cobwebs of it all."

No American riders could clinch their Olympic spot during the Aspen competition. They also could not be eliminated. However, the U.S. Grand Prix gave White the opportunity to see how he compared to some of the biggest names in the sport. Yuto is the Olympic favorite, but Raibu Katayama (second place) and Andre Hoeflich (third place) are two other names to watch.

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 his recent performance in Aspen makes this outcome more likely.