COPPER MOUNTAIN, Colo. (AP) — As Shaun White embarked this month on the quest to make his fifth Olympics, the world’s most famous halfpipe rider finds living a life full of calculated risks is still part of his DNA.
It's a mindset that is less taken for granted these days in all-or-nothing sports like his than it was a mere 12 months ago.
Simone Biles’ decision to pull out of the gymnastics women’s team final at the Tokyo Games earlier this year resonated with athletes throughout the elite world.
That included White, who says if an athlete is putting his life on the line for any other reason than wanting to do it for himself, then it's not a good enough reason.
White will have to wait about a week to get an inside track on a trip to his fifth Olympics after an eighth-place finish at the season’s first qualifying event on Saturday.
The three-time gold medalist could not put together a completely clean run on any of his three trips down the halfpipe at the U.S. Grand Prix.
He failed to earn the podium spot that would put him in the best position for the trip to Beijing.
Ruka Hirano of Japan won the contest with a run of 89.25 that featured five straight double-cork tricks. Jan Scherrer of Switzerland finished second and Yuto Totsuka of Japan finished third.