Marseille: Triple Winter Olympic champion Shaun White is considering competing in skateboarding at the Tokyo Games in 2020, he told AFP while taking part in a professional event in Marseille on Sunday.
The 31-year-old American snowboard superstar has been skating since his early childhood and won his first snowboard halfpipe gold at the Torino 2006 Winter Olympics.
“Honestly, I am here to see how things go. I haven’t made a decision either way, I just figured, want to have some fun, skateboard, come to France and then hopefully make a decision come new year if I’m really going to go for it or not,” he said of the news he was targeting the 2020 Summer Games.
“The Winter Olympics for me just happened so, to finish climbing the mountain and to have a success like that and to have another mountain to climb with skateboarding, it’s a lot.
“Physically, mentally and all these things so, I think for me to have fun right now and get excited about it, and then set the goal of going to the Olympics is how I’m going to do it.”
Skateboarding will make its Olympic bow in 2020 with a ‘Park’ and ‘Street’ event for both men and women decided on by judges awarding points, but for many in the skateboard community the Olympic event is unwelcome.
“I think it’s funny, it’s déjà vu of the same thing that happened to snowboarding. There is a lot of people that wanted it and a lot of others that weren’t sure about what it would do to the sport. And I don’t know, for snowboarding, it was great.
“It brought a lot of attention to the sport, it gave a lot of legitimacy to athletes.”
– Skateboarding ‘more technical’ –
White feels he is better at street skate but is in Marseille competing in a bowl, or park event, both of which he describes as more technical than snowboarding.
“It’s crazy, snowboarding is I feel like, everything is bigger. The halfpipe walls, look, maybe the highest here is 12, 14 feet maybe, and snowboarding it’s 22 feet tall. So it’s a lot bigger and you are strapped in so there is no running out of something, if you are going to hit a jump, you are going, it’s happening.
“But with skateboarding, it’s more technical. You can spin and flip, and the board can spin and flip. So I think there is a lot more involved, and in that sense, it makes it harder to complete a run. You know, there is so much that can go wrong,” said White.
The sport is so new that the United States qualifiers for the four events are yet to be decided upon.
“I’m waiting to get the phone call to tell me when the dates are.
“It’s the first time it’s happened so it’s not surprising that the (organisation)… it’s a little (slow), it’s new.
“Everybody’s trying to figure out where it all fits and how it works together… and it’s cool, it’s good to be part of that, the first time ever. And I’m really excited.”