Snowboarding star Shaun White has spoken of his "beautiful journey" after confirming his retirement following the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.

White was emotional last Friday as he competed in his final event at the Winter Games, the men's halfpipe, where he agonisingly finished in fourth place.

The American is the first and so far only snowboarder to win three gold medals, and had already announced before the Games in China that it would be his last, bringing a much-decorated 22-year career to an end.

He took to Twitter on Friday to write a farewell message.

"I slid down the halfpipe at the Olympics for the final time," he posted. "Typing this now makes me just as emotional as I felt last Friday. It brings me tears of joy.

"It has been a rollercoaster of emotions and I am overwhelmed with appreciation. Closing this chapter of my life has made me reflect on that past 22 years as a professional snowboarder with gratitude."

White went on to thank numerous people who have helped him through his career, insisting that "Still competing at the Olympics at the age of 35. It takes a village, and I am so incredibly lucky to have had such wonderful and talented humans in my corner over the years."

He also thanked his family as well as skateboarding icon Tony Hawk, who he credited as a "positive influence", and also thanked snowboarding's organisers, his fellow competitors and his fans.

White went on the say: "Snowboarding was my first love. Like any new relationship, it was intoxicating. Snowboarding gave me a rush, made me feel invincible, filled my life with adventure. It gave me purpose and I got to be creative.

"I will of course miss snowboarding professionally, but this won't be the last time you see [me] cruising down the mountain.

"I am beyond humbled and grateful for this beautiful journey. It has been an honor and a privilege. This has been the ride of my life!"

As well as his Olympic success, at the X Games, White won 23 medals overall, of which 15 were gold. Thirteen of those gold medals came in snowboarding and two in skateboarding.

Eight of his X Games golds came in the halfpipe event, with the other five achieved in slopestyle.

He was the first snowboarder to score a perfect 100 in the halfpipe in the Winter X Games, achieving that 10 years ago in Aspen, Colorado.

White triumphed first at the Winter Olympics as a 19-year-old in Turin in 2006, defending his title in 2010 in Vancouver, and recovering from missing out on the Sochi podium four years later by landing gold again at Pyeongchang 2018.

His score of 97.75 in his second run at Pyeongchang stands as an Olympic record.

Snowboarding star Shaun White has spoken of his "beautiful journey" after confirming his retirement following the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.

White was emotional last Friday as he competed in his final event at the Winter Games, the men's halfpipe, where he agonisingly finished in fourth place.

The American is the first and so far only snowboarder to win three gold medals, and had already announced before the Games in China that it would be his last, bringing a much-decorated 22-year career to an end.

He took to Twitter on Friday to write a farewell message.

"I slid down the halfpipe at the Olympics for the final time," he posted. "Typing this now makes me just as emotional as I felt last Friday. It brings me tears of joy.

"It has been a rollercoaster of emotions and I am overwhelmed with appreciation. Closing this chapter of my life has made me reflect on that past 22 years as a professional snowboarder with gratitude."

White went on to thank numerous people who have helped him through his career, insisting that "Still competing at the Olympics at the age of 35. It takes a village, and I am so incredibly lucky to have had such wonderful and talented humans in my corner over the years."

He also thanked his family as well as skateboarding icon Tony Hawk, who he credited as a "positive influence", and also thanked snowboarding's organisers, his fellow competitors and his fans.

White went on the say: "Snowboarding was my first love. Like any new relationship, it was intoxicating. Snowboarding gave me a rush, made me feel invincible, filled my life with adventure. It gave me purpose and I got to be creative.

"I will of course miss snowboarding professionally, but this won't be the last time you see [me] cruising down the mountain.

"I am beyond humbled and grateful for this beautiful journey. It has been an honor and a privilege. This has been the ride of my life!"

As well as his Olympic success, at the X Games, White won 23 medals overall, of which 15 were gold. Thirteen of those gold medals came in snowboarding and two in skateboarding.

Eight of his X Games golds came in the halfpipe event, with the other five achieved in slopestyle.

He was the first snowboarder to score a perfect 100 in the halfpipe in the Winter X Games, achieving that 10 years ago in Aspen, Colorado.

White triumphed first at the Winter Olympics as a 19-year-old in Turin in 2006, defending his title in 2010 in Vancouver, and recovering from missing out on the Sochi podium four years later by landing gold again at Pyeongchang 2018.

His score of 97.75 in his second run at Pyeongchang stands as an Olympic record.

The "Snow Princess" Eileen Gu will look to add to her women's freeski big air gold medal when she competes in the slopestyle event at Beijing 2022 on Tuesday.

Gu – representing host nation China at the Winter Olympics – only finished third in qualifying, but could once again be saving her best for the final in front of her many fans.

Elsewhere, Ester Ledecka became the first female athlete to claim gold in two separate sports at the same Winter Games back in 2018, and the Czech is out to repeat that achievement this time around.

Ledecka already has a parallel giant slalom snowboard title at these games but came up short in the super-G when she made the switch to skis, though she hopes to be ready for the downhill after having had some days of rest.

"I'm really looking forward to it because I didn't have much sleep these two days and I will prepare myself, as good as I can," Ledecka said after her super-G disappointment.

Here, Stats Perform previews these and the rest of Tuesday's medal events.

Alpine skiing

The flagship event of alpine skiing takes place on Tuesday with the women's downhill, and while all eyes will be on whether Ledecka can double up on her gold medals again, she is not really among the favourites heading into it.

Switzerland duo Priska Nufer and Joana Haehlen were fastest in the two training runs possible so far (the third was cancelled for bad weather on Sunday). It is another Swiss competitor, Lara Gut-Behrami, who will likely be the one to beat after her gold in the super-G and bronze in the giant slalom already in Beijing.

Defending champion Sofia Goggia of Italy will try to become only the second athlete after Katja Seizinger of Germany to retain an Olympic title in the downhill event.

Biathlon

Norway will be looking to continue their dominance when the men's 4x7.5km relay takes place, having won four of the seven gold medals on offer so far in biathlon, and nine medals in all.

They also won the final IBU World Cup 4x7.5km relay in Italy before the Olympics, beating Russia and Germany into second and third.

Bobsleigh

Germany are in pole position to be among the medals in the two-man event after the first two heats, with Francesco Friedrich leading the way with a combined time of one minute, 58.38 seconds, ahead of compatriot Johannes Lochner (+0.15 seconds) and the Russian Olympic Committee's Rostislav Gaitiukevich (+0.94 seconds).

It already seems unlikely that anyone other than the highly decorated Friedrich or Lochner will take the gold when the final two heats happen on Tuesday, but another German, Christoph Hafer, as well as Michael Vogt (Switzerland) and Benjamin Maier (Austria) remain in with a chance of troubling the race for bronze.

Freestyle skiing

While Gu will be the headline act as the 2021 slopestyle world champion, her second run score of 79.38 was good enough only for third in qualifying, with Estonia's Kelly Sildaru finishing first with an 86.15, and Norway's Johanne Killi second on 86.00.

France's Tess Ledeux will be hoping to make up for missing out on a win in the big air, while defending champion Sarah Hoefflin of Switzerland surprisingly failed to qualify, finishing in 20th place.

Nordic combined

The individual Gundersen large hill 10km takes place on Tuesday, an event in which all three medals were won by Germany at PyeongChang 2018.

Though German Vinzenz Geiger won gold in the normal hill event on Wednesday, strong competition is expected again from Norway's Joergen Graabak and Austria's Lukas Greiderer, who took silver and bronze in the normal hill event.

Question marks remain over the involvement of pre-Olympics favourites Jarl Magnus Riiber (Norway) and Kristjan Ilves (Estonia) after both tested positive for COVID-19, but the latter was recently able to leave isolation and took part in official training.

Snowboard

Big things are again expected of New Zealand's Zoi Sadowski-Synnott in the women's big air final, having already won gold in the slopestyle event.

"I've got a new trick I've been working on," she promised after being the only qualifier to score over 90 on Monday. "I've had to reset since slopestyle, put that gold to the back of my mind. It hasn't sunk in yet. But I'm pretty stoked to put those jumps down."

In the men's event, Canada's Mark McMorris will try to become the first snowboarder to win four Olympic medals, while compatriot Max Parrot is looking to follow up on his gold in the slopestyle, which would make him the first snowboarder to win two gold medals at the same Olympic Games.

Speed skating

The women's team pursuit sees Japan defend their title from 2018, while the Netherlands will be hoping to add to their four gold medals (eight overall) in speed skating, while also getting revenge for losing their 2014 title in the final in PyeongChang.

The men's event has been an open contest since its introduction in 2006, with no country having won gold more than once. All the former champions – Italy, Canada, Netherlands and Norway – have qualified for the event, but Netherlands will likely be favourites having won 12 of 13 world championships in this event.

Kaillie Humphries will be hoping to become the first ever women's monobob Olympic champion in Beijing on Monday, while whoever wins the women's aerials will have to go through qualification and the final in the same day.

There are just four medal events to start the week, but there are also some intriguing non-medal events.

The women's ice hockey reaches the semi-final stage as Canada face Switzerland, while the United States take on Finland.

The postponed women's downhill from Sunday will hopefully take place, the men and women's curling round robins continue, and the two-man bobsleigh event begins.

The men's and women's big air events in the snowboard get under way as well, with the gold medallists from Pyeongchang, Sebastien Toutant of Canada and Anna Gasser of Austria, both back to defend their titles.

Here, Stats Perform previews Monday's medal events.

Bobsleigh

One of the new events at the Olympics is the women's monobob, which will see its first Olympic champion crowned on Monday.

In Sunday's first two heats it was Humphries of the United States who led the way ahead of Christine de Bruin of Canada and Germany's Laura Nolte.

Another American athlete, Elana Meyers Taylor, was one of the favourites but sat down in fourth place ahead of Monday's crucial final two heats.

Figure skating

The ice dance pairs will see new faces win gold medals as 2018 champions Aljona Savchenko and Bruno Massot of Germany are not competing in Beijing.

The rhythm dance took place on Saturday and saw French pair Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron take first place ahead of Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov of the Russian Olympic Committee and Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue of the United States.

Freestyle skiing

The women's aerials event will take place on Monday, though qualifying was postponed on Sunday due to poor weather and will now take place on Monday afternoon Beijing time. It has been confirmed that the final is still scheduled for later in the day.

When the event finally does get going, Australia's Laura Peel and Chinese duo Xu Mengtao and Kong Fanyu are among those expected to do well.

Ski jumping

The men's team trial round, team first round and final are all scheduled for Monday, with Norway aiming to defend their title from 2018, though Germany and Japan are also likely to be in contention.

It will be the final ski jumping event of Beijing 2022.

American old hands Nick Baumgartner and Lindsey Jacobellis landed a glorious gold in the Winter Olympics mixed team snowboard cross on Saturday.

Jacobellis, 36, followed her individual triumph earlier in the Games by pairing up with 40-year-old Baumgartner, who became the oldest snowboard medallist in Olympic history.

Mainstays of the United States team, the veterans proved a fine combination in the inaugural staging of the mixed team event.

For Baumgartner, who could only manage 10th in the men's individual event on Thursday, topping the podium marked the pinnacle of his career. At his fourth Games, he finally has a medal to show.

The Michigan man said he had become "hungrier" for success as the years have passed, adding: "As you get older, it's tough to watch the young kids take over and try to push you out of the sport, so that hunger is strong.

"We're embracing oldies for goldies! I don't need a jacket right now as I have an inner fire burning!"

He had a message for all 40-year-olds: that there is no reason to step back from life goals.

"You're never too late to take what you want from life and follow your dreams," Baumgartner said. "You let yourself down if you quit too early, [it] doesn't matter how old you are.

"Our success at our age is a perfect example of that and we both hope our stories can inspire other people to go out there. You get one shot at life, you should live the life you want and don't let anything stop you, [it] doesn't matter how old you are. Hard work is the answer. Go out there and get it."


The brilliant Boe brothers

Norwegian Johannes Thingnes Boe and Tarjei Boe took gold and bronze respectively in biathlon's men's 10-kilometre sprint, a giddy thrill for the brothers who grew up amid standard sibling rivalry.

France's Quentin Fillon Maillet denied them a one-two, but it was a gleeful day for the brothers who also won gold in the mixed relay on the opening Saturday.

Younger brother Johannes Thingnes said afterwards that Tarjei, five years his senior, had been "a pain in the butt until he moved out when he was 16, then we saw less of each other".

"Biathlon is easy compared to all the competitions I've had with him," added the champion. "I'm so proud. I'm more proud of him than I am of myself. A bronze medal means gold to him."

They are the first siblings to win medals in the same individual biathlon race in an Olympics, and Tarjei saluted his brother's development, saying: "I saw it quite early, 10 years ago or maybe earlier, that he would be unbeatable in a few years.

"My goal was to win as much as I could before he grew up, and I did – the start of my career was quite strong. Now he is by far the best athlete in the world."

Big hill, big thrill for Lindvik

Norway's Marius Lindvik won the large hill ski jumping gold, finishing ahead of Japan's Ryoyu Kobayashi and Germany's Karl Geiger.

Poland's Kamil Stoch took fourth place, edged out of the medals as he attempted in vain to win a third consecutive large hill gold.

Lindvik had finished seventh in the normal hill event but made up for disappointment there with two giant jumps as he became Norway's first champion in the large hill discipline since 1964.

"I knew if I had a good day I was going to fight for the medals," Lindvik said. "After the normal hill I took a step back and reset and just looked forward to the big hill.

"It was probably two of my best jumps. It's pretty sick that I managed to perform two good jumps when it counts."

Golden Gao lifts hosts, breaks curse

Tingyu Gao took the men's speed skating 500 metres title in an Olympic record of 34.32 seconds, giving hosts China a fourth gold of the Games.

It made the 24-year-old, who was a bronze medallist four years ago in Pyeongchang, only the second Chinese speed skater to win an Olympic gold medal. Zhang Hong was the first in 2014, winning the women's 1,000m.

Gao said he intended to "go back to school" after achieving his sporting goal and predicted China would be "unstoppable" in speed skating in years to come.

He was China's flagbearer at the opening ceremony, and that has typically been seen as a cursed privilege, with those handed the honour often failing to match expectations when they go into action.

Gao bucked that trend and said: "I was really scared of this, but as the Republic of China's flagbearer, I wanted to win gold for China.

"In the competition, I didn't care about the curse. I think I did very well leading the Chinese athletes to achieve their goals. As a Chinese you need to walk the talk and fulfil your promises."

Saturday sees us pass the halfway point of the Beijing Winter Olympic Games, with six medals on the line in China's capital.

More drama awaits in the snowboarding as the first mixed team snowboard cross takes place at the Olympics, while Japan's Kobayashi Ryoyu looks to cement his place as the world's premier ski jumper.

One of the more intriguing non-medal events of the day will see the United States and Canada face off in the men's ice hockey, the first time that the two nations have met since Canada beat their rivals 1-0 in the semi-finals at Sochi 2014.

Here, Stats Perform previews each of the day's medal events. 

Biathlon

Norway's Johannes Thingnes Boe already has two medals from these Games, but is aiming to arguably win his most important one on Saturday in the men's 10km sprint, the only one that eluded him at Pyeongchang 2018.

He will likely face fierce competition from France's Quentin Fillon Maillet, who won gold in the individual biathlon on Tuesday, while Sweden's Sebastian Samuelsson could also be one to keep an eye on.

Samuelsson currently leads the World Cup standings and finished ahead of both Boe and Fillon Maillet in consecutive sprint events in Ostersund earlier in the season.

Cross-country skiing

The women's 4x5km relay takes place on Saturday, with Norway hoping to successfully defend their title from Pyeongchang.

Norway has won two of the last three golds in this race, with Sweden taking the win at Sochi 2014.

Skeleton

Women's skeleton is celebrating its 20th year on the Olympic programme, and Germany's Tina Hermann will be hoping to replicate the success of compatriot Christopher Grotheer, who won the men's gold on Friday.

Hermann won the test event at this track in October, and sits in third place on a time of two minutes, 4.57 seconds after the first two heats on Friday. 

Australia's Jaclyn Narracott is in first place heading into the final two heats on two minutes, ahead of another German, Hannah Neise.

Ski jumping

The men's large hill event qualifying saw Norway's Marius Lindvik and Halvor Egner Granerud take first and second respectively, and both will be fancied in Saturday's final.

Granerud was the 2020-21 overall World Cup winner, but he and his compatriot will have to look out for Japan's Kobayashi Ryoyu, arguably the favourite for gold. The 25-year-old won the recent Four Hills Tournament as well as the normal hill event in Beijing.

According to the Beijing 2022 website, the large hill at the National Ski Jumping Centre has a height of 446 feet, "with the landing funnelling straight into a large stadium which can be used for football matches in the summer."

Snowboard

History will be made as the first mixed team snowboard cross medals will be handed out at the Olympic Games.

Pairs made up of one male and one female competitor will face off in quarter-finals, semi-finals and a final on Saturday, with current world champions Australia among the favourites along with the United States. 

There will be 15 teams competing from 10 nations, with Australia, Canada, France, Italy and the United States having two teams.

Speed skating

Haavard Lorentzen will look to defend his title from 2018 but faces strong competition in the men's 500m. The 29-year-old set an Olympic record in Pyeongchang and became the first Norwegian to win gold in the event since 1948.

Canada's Laurent Dubreuil recorded the fastest time in the 500m last year and is currently at the top of the World Cup standings, while South Korea's Cha Min-kyu will aim to make amends for missing out four years ago when Lorentzen beat him by 0.01 of a second in the final.

Europe dominated the Winter Olympics medal table after Friday's successes were shared out, with no nation picking up more than one gold and Germany holding on to top spot.

Snowboard halfpipe champion Ayumu Hirano was the only non-European to earn podium-topping honours, as he delivered Japan's second gold in Beijing.

Hirano competed in skateboarding at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, and said that stood him in good stead for his mission on snow, as he fended off rivals including Shaun White, who finished in fourth.

"Experiencing something that is different from snowboarding helps me mentally and how I manage my emotions," Hirano said.

"Skateboarding helped me substantially in that sense. This event was a huge challenge for me, but that experience itself gave me a lot of confidence, looking back over the last four years. Skateboarding helped make me stronger."

American success dried up for 24 hours, after a golden day for Team USA on Thursday, and they slipped to sixth after missing out on the medals front.

Germany consolidated first place, now with seven gold and two silver medals, after Christopher Grotheer led a one-two in men's skeleton, ahead of team-mate Axel Jungk.

Norway sit second, with Marte Olsbu Roeiseland an emphatic winner of the women's 7.5km sprint biathlon and Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo taking bronze in the men's 15km classic cross-country, behind Finnish winner Iivo Niskanen.

Klaebo, a 25-year-old who has four Olympic gold medals to his name, including three from 2018 in Pyeongchang, did not mind his first experience of a lower position on the podium at the Games.

"For me it's the first [Olympic] medal in distance and I think this one is as good as a gold medal for sure. So really, really satisfied," he said.

 

Netherlands struck gold in speed skating again, this time in the short course 1,000 metres discipline as Suzanne Schulting successfully defended her title. After setting a world record to win her quarter-final, Schulting did not need to go so quickly in the final.

She was runner-up in the 500m earlier in her Beijing campaign, and said on Friday: "I was really happy with the silver. But when I was at the medal plaza and stood on the medal podium, I was like, 'I really want to have that gold one'. So it was kind of motivation for today."

Behind third-placed Netherlands sat Sweden, who landed a second speed skating gold through Nils van der Poel, and then Austria, completing an all-European top five on the medal table, with the USA and China sixth and seventh after relatively quiet days.


Medal table:

1. Germany (G7 S4 B0, Total: 11)
2. Norway (G6 S3 B5, Total: 14)
3. Netherlands (G5 S4 B1, Total: 10)
4. Sweden (G5 S2 B2, Total: 9)
5. Austria (G4 S6 B4, Total: 14)
6. United States (G4 S5 B1, Total: 10)
7. China (G3 S3 B1, Total: 7)
8. Russian Olympic Committee (G2 S4 B6, Total: 12)
9. Italy (G2 S4 B4, Total: 10)
10. Japan (G2 S2 B4, Total: 8)

Ayumu Hirano finally secured gold in the men's snowboard halfpipe as boarding legend Shaun White narrowly missed out on a medal at his final Winter Olympic Games.

Hirano could only manage silver medals at Sochi 2014 and at Pyeongchang in 2018, and he sat in second place again behind Australian rival Scotty James heading into his third and final run.

The Japanese star executed a perfect 1440 triple cork followed by a back-to-back 1260 and a frontside 1440 to earn a score of 96.00 and his first Olympic title.

James finished in second with a score of 92.50, while Swiss athlete Jan Scherrer claimed bronze with 87.25.

White turned back the clock with a second run that scored 85.00, but on his final attempt, the 35-year-old attempted an ambitious jump that he was unable to land, ending his medal hopes as he finished in fourth place.

An emotional White, who confirmed before Beijing 2022 that these would be his final Games, said: "Snowboarding, thank you. It's been the love of my life."

Hirano was delighted with his victory, and claimed that the anger he felt for receiving a lower score than James for his second run spurred him on to pull off a near-perfect final run.

"I did what I wanted to do right at the end," Hirano said. "I wasn't able to accept the second run's score, but I managed to express my anger well at the end."

Schulting confirms speed skating dominance

Suzanne Schulting won gold in the short track speed skating 1,000m on Friday, retaining the title she won four years ago in Pyeongchang, becoming the first woman since 1998 to win consecutive Olympic titles in short track speed skating.

Having broken the world record in her quarter-final (one minute, 26.514 seconds), Dutch star Schulting narrowly beat South Korea's Choi Min-jeong in a time of 1:28.391.

Belgian Hanne Desmet took bronze after a collision between Italy's Arianna Fontana and Kristen Santos of the United States.

"I became really confident out there after skating a world record," Schulting said after her win. "I was focusing on what I had to do and on my technique. It's insane."

Bittersweet day for Shiffrin

It has been a Games to forget for Mikaela Shiffrin. The American was fancied to take multiple medals away from Beijing, but skied out in both the giant slalom and slalom events, and even cast doubt on whether she would compete further after those disappointments.

However, she took to the slopes for the women's super-G on Friday, and though she did not medal, did at least finish the race.

"It felt really nice to ski that today," Shiffrin said after finishing in ninth. "There's a lot of disappointment over the last week. There's a lot of emotions. [It was] not really easy to reset and know if I was up for the challenge today.

"The track itself is beautiful, and it's sunny, and the snow is amazing. Coming back out and getting the chance to race again was just the perfect thing to do, actually.

"It's possible to feel both proud of a career and sad for the moment you're in."

The super-G was won by Swiss athlete Lara Gut-Behrami, with Austria's Mirjam Puchner claiming silver and another Swiss competitor Michelle Gisin taking bronze.

Germany make no bones about skeleton

It was a German one-two in the first completed skeleton event at Beijing 2022, with Christopher Grotheer and Axel Jungk claiming gold and silver respectively in the men's event.

Grotheer was comfortable in the end with his time of four minutes, 1.01 seconds putting him two-thirds of a second ahead of his compatriot (4:01.67), with China's Yan Wengang taking bronze (4:01.77).

Elsewhere, Iivo Niskanen of Finland claimed his third Olympic gold after winning the men's 15km classic in cross-country skiing, ahead of the Russian Olympic Committee's Alexander Bolshunov and Norway's Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo.

An exhausted Niskanen fell into the snow after crossing the line in a time of 37 minutes, 54.8 seconds.

Marte Olsbu Roeiseland of Norway claimed her third medal of the Games with gold in the 7.5km women's sprint in biathlon, hitting all 10 targets on her way to finishing ahead of Sweden's Elvira Oeberg and Italy's Dorothea Wierer.

In the women's ice hockey, the United States and Canada both comfortably secured their semi-final places with wins over Czech Republic and Sweden, with Canada thrashing the Swedes 11-0.

Shaun White paid tribute to the new generation of snowboarding stars – those he considers his "legacy" in the sport – after his final run at the Winter Olympics.

The American great finished in fourth place in the men's halfpipe final on Friday after falling on his third run at Genting Snow Park.

It was the last competition at the Games for White, a pioneering figure in the sport for more than 15 years who helped to bring snowboarding into the mainstream.

A five-time Olympian, White won three gold medals in the halfpipe, but he could not match Ayumu Hirano on Friday as the Japanese finally won gold after silvers in 2014 and 2018.

Now 35, White holds the record for X-Games gold medals and golds won by a snowboarder at the Olympics. He never finished lower than fourth at the Games.

Speaking after the competition, White said problems with his leg caught up with him as he tried for a final push for a medal, but he could not be prouder than to see the standard of competition he helped to inspire.

"Over the last few months, it's been wild," White said. "Pushing to give it everything I have, but then realising I am human. I've spent an entire career not being human and doing what people thought was impossible. And then to have my ankle go and then my knee, and I had surgery before the season started.

"All these things wearing and tearing, so to put it down and to even get here, I was so thrilled. What a time of my life to be with those competitors and feel the joy of winning and riding.

"The thought I keep having is, 'Wow, this is the last time I'll be here doing this specific thing. This is the last time I'll be at a competition, stressed out about what points I'm going to get, or is today the day I might really hurt myself trying to push the envelope', you know? It's hard to wake up every day since you were a kid and go, 'Wow, I'm going to do something really scary today and hope I'm okay'.

"Honestly, I keep saying, if I got third, I would have wanted second. And if I had gotten second, I would have wanted more. This is just the competitor in me, but I am happy. I am happy to come back here and ride the pipe and have some fun and be a part of this sport. I think I've earned that.

"I knew my leg wasn't holding, but I knew I had to do something to push the score up. I hadn't landed one of those in practice and thought maybe – hey, I'm pretty lucky – maybe I'll hit it during the run and put it together. I barely made the first one, and so I knew going into that one it was all willpower to make it happen.

"You know, sliding on my back, thinking, 'This isn't how I wanted it to go'. You don't always get what you want, but I have to be thankful for everything I do have and what I have gotten in my career. I've got to be happy for these guys."

Asked about the current state of snowboarding, White added: "Oh my god. It makes me proud. It makes me pretty emotional, you know.

"Everybody was asking me what my legacy in this sport has been, and, I'm like, 'You're watching it'. These younger riders, they have been on my heels every step of the way. To see them finally surpass me is, I think, deep down what I always wanted, you know – to be beaten!"

Mikaela Shiffrin has two ugly DNF marks by her name so far at the Winter Olympics, but it could be third time lucky for the American on Friday.

The 26-year-old took home one gold medal from both the 2014 Sochi Games and 2018 in Pyeongchang, and came to Beijing with high hopes of adding to that haul.

Ester Ledecka is among the rivals who will also be targeting the super-G podium, while other multiple champions in action elsewhere on Friday include Shaun White and Dario Cologna.

Here, Stats Perform previews each of the day's medal events. 

Alpine skiing

Shiffrin took super-G gold at the 2019 World Championships, so she cannot be counted out here, providing she cuts out the errors and finishes the course.

Italians Federica Brignone, Elena Curtoni and Sofia Goggia are 1-2-3 in the World Cup standings, so should be factors, while Czech star Ledecka is chasing a second extraordinary double. She took snowboard parallel giant slalom gold earlier in the Games, and after winning both that and the super-G in 2018, she cannot be ruled out.

Switzerland's Lara Gut-Behrami won the world title last year and sits fifth in the World Cup standings, but a reigning world champion has never won gold in the women's Olympic super-G.

Biathlon

Can Norway's Marte Olsbu Roeiseland upgrade from silver four years ago in the women's 7.5km sprint? Her World Cup form has been good, with two wins in the sprints, so gold is a realistic aim. She already has one gold from Beijing, in the team relay, and a bronze from the 15km individual.

Norway's Tiril Eckhoff has not shown her best form in the World Cup this year, but Roeiseland's compatriot is the reigning world champion, a two-time Olympic relay gold medallist, and could come into the equation.

Cross-country skiing

Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo won gold in the sprint and should again be a factor in Friday's men's 15km classic, but the Norwegian says Finland's Iivo Niskanen is the hottest prospect for top of the podium. 

"He's definitely the favourite I would say, together with [Alexander] Bolshunov," said Klaebo. "All of us need to have the best day we can have, and it will be tough but we're just going to give it all and hopefully manage to have a good day and to have good skis and everything and then for sure it's possible."

Swiss veteran Cologna has won this event in the last three Olympics, but a four-peat seems an unlikely prospect.

Short track speed skating

Netherlands' Suzanne Schulting competes in the women's 1,000m, looking to defend the title, which has not been achieved since Lee-kyung Chun did so in 1998. South Korea and China have won 16 of the 21 medals in this event since its Olympic debut in 1994.

Skeleton

Christopher Grotheer was star of the show as the men's skeleton began on Thursday, leading by 0.70 seconds after two runs. That is a significant gap, with the German's closest rival being his compatriot Alex Jungk.

World champion Grotheer said: "The first run was brilliant, and the second run was also really good. I have a really good first day and I hope [on Friday] I can show this performance too."

Snowboard

American White heads into the halfpipe knowing this will be his career swan song, having decided to retire. Three times a gold medallist, the 35-year-old is bidding to become the first man to win individual gold medals at four Winter Olympics.

White was fourth in qualifying, with Japan's Ayumu Hirano leading the way.

Speed skating

Sweden's Nils van der Poel has made his mark on and off the rink in Beijing, winning gold in the men's 5,000m before making a raft of accusations, claiming the dominant Netherlands team have unduly influenced racing conditions. He goes again on Friday in the men's 10,000m and is the likely champion.

The United States are finally on the move at the Winter Olympics, soaring from 10th to fourth place on the medal table after three golden moments on Thursday.

There were triumphs for Nathan Chen in figure skating, Chloe Kim in the snowboard halfpipe, and the freeski mixed team aerials trio, hoisting Team USA to four golds in China and 10 medals overall.

Historically, only Norway have won more gold medals than the USA at the Winter Olympics.

Germany continue to top the medal table after landing luge team relay gold late on in Thursday's programme, with Norway in second and Austria third.

Chen produced a mesmerising display in a routine to Elton John's 'Rocket Man' as he delivered on the ice, and he said afterwards: "Historically I skated to pretty slower-paced, more classical pieces, so bringing in this faster-pace, very exciting, very happy programme was something I wasn't totally adjusted to from the beginning.

"But as we started working on it, it was something that totally made sense, and was just so much fun to skate to. This programme, no matter what, is always fun for me to skate.

"It means the world. I'm just so happy. It's a whirlwind right now. I had a blast out there."

Kim savoured her success at Genting Snow Park, but the 21-year-old, competing in her second Games after also striking gold in Pyeongchang, is making no promises she will be back for more at Milano Cortina 2026.

She told reporters: "I genuinely don't know how many more Olympics I'm going to do, it's all about how am I feeling mentally and physically.

"What you guys need to understand is this isn't an easy sport. It's really hard. And all the ladies make it look really easy, but I promise you, if any of you tried to do half the things they did, it wouldn't end very well."

Christopher Lillis and the power couple of Ashley Caldwell and Justin Schoenefeld delivered the aerials gold.

Caldwell, who made her Winter Olympics debut as a 16-year-old in 2010, said: "I couldn't be more excited. This is my fourth Games, and I've been in the hunt for a gold medal my entire career.

"To do it with these guys is incredible. Chris has been like a brother to me forever, and Justin is the love of my life, so that really helps."

Medal table:

1. Germany (G6 S3 B0, Total: 9)
2. Norway (G5 S3 B4, Total: 12)
3. Austria (G4 S5 B4, Total: 13)
4. United States (G4 S5 B1, Total: 10)
5. Netherlands (G4 S3 B1, Total: 8)
6. Sweden (G4 S1 B2, Total: 7)
7. China (G3 S3 B0, Total: 6)
8. Italy (G2 S4 B2, Total: 8)
9. Russian Olympic Committee (G2 S3 B6, Total: 11)
10. Slovenia (G2 S1 B2, Total: 5)

Another day, another speed-skating gold medal for the Netherlands at the Winter Olympics.

The Dutch are dominating at the National Speed Skating Oval, winning four of five titles so far, and Irene Schouten is now a double champion in Beijing after adding the 5,000 metres to her 3,000m gold. She became the fifth woman in history to pull off that double.

So far, the Netherlands have totted up four gold medals, two silver and a bronze in speed skating, drawing the ire of Sweden's Nils van der Poel.

Van der Poel, who won the men's 5,000m on Sunday, claimed subsequently that the Dutch are being allowed to bring undue influence to the ice conditions, describing that as "corruption" and "the biggest scandal in our sport".

Netherlands technical director Maurits Hendriks rejected the claims from Van der Poel, saying: "We are really disappointed that Sweden didn't reach out. We feel that before you make statements like this it is good to have a one-on-one chat. We have nothing to hide."

Schouten set an Olympic record of six minutes and 43.51 seconds to land her second gold of the Games on Thursday, with the team pursuit and mass start events still to come.

"Of course, I hope to win [gold] medals in those events as well," said Schouten, "but those are more difficult to win because you're depending on others."

Canadian silver medallist Isabelle Weidemann roared her approval for the champion, saying: "Schouten is incredible. I wanted to cheer for her. She takes the level up so much."

There were plenty of other stars breaking records and posting remarkable achievements, and Stats Perform looks here at the numbers behind their stories.


21 - American Chloe Kim followed her halfpipe title in Pyeongchang with more glory in Beijing, becoming the sixth snowboarder to defend an individual title, and only the third woman, after compatriot Jamie Anderson and Czech star Ester Ledecka. Kim, 21, also became the first United States competitor to win multiple gold medals at the Winter Olympics before turning 22 since Eric Heiden won five gold medals in speed skating in 1980 at Lake Placid. Heiden was also 21 at the time and later became a world-class cyclist, riding the 1986 Tour de France.

1988 - Johannes Strolz was born four years after his father, Hubert, triumphed in the men's Alpine combined at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. On Thursday, Austrian 29-year-old Strolz followed his dad into the Games history books, also winning the Alpine combined. It makes Johannes and Hubert the first parent and child to win the same individual event at the Winter Olympics.

50 - Norway now have 50 Olympic gold medals in cross-country skiing, the first national association to reach the landmark in a single sport at the Winter Games. That is because Therese Johaug won her second gold in Beijing, adding the 10km classic to her skiathlon success. Johaug, who also won women's relay gold at the 2010 Games, joins cross-country skier Marit Bjoergen (eight) and figure skater Sonja Henie (three) as the only Norwegian women to win at least three gold medals at the Winter Olympics.

8 - When it comes to men's figure skating, USA take some beating. Nathan Chen became the seventh US star to win gold in men's single skating. Dick Button began the run of success in 1948 and 1952, and the USA have eight gold medals and 16 medals overall in the event, putting them top of that particular all-time medal table. Eight golds in a single discipline is now also a US record for any event at the Winter Olympics, ahead of women's singles figure skating and men's 500m speed skating (both seven).

24 - The USA had not won a gold medal in freeski aerials since 1998, when they won the men's and women's individual events, but they ended a 24-year wait with glory in the inaugural mixed team aerials. Ashley Caldwell, Christopher Lillis and Justin Schoenefeld fended off China, with Lillis landing a quintuple twisting triple for a score of 135 points, the best yet of the Games on the aerials course.

Chloe Kim made history by becoming the first woman to win two Winter Olympics gold medals in the snowboard halfpipe event despite what she described as "the worst practice ever".

The American managed an incredible score of 94.00 on her opening run which ultimately proved enough to claim gold nearly four points clear of Spaniard Queralt Castellet (90.25), who claimed the silver, and nearly six ahead of Japan's Sena Tomita (88.25), who earned the bronze.

The 2018 gold-medallist looked to further etch her name into the history books in her second and third runs by attempting 1260s – a trick that has never been landed at a women's halfpipe event – but was unable to make it stick.

Kim, who became the youngest woman to win an Olympic gold medal in snowboarding four years ago at the age of 17, explained that her first-run performance surprised her after a difficult practice session and that her high score granted her the freedom to try the 1260s.

"I was so proud of myself," Kim said. "I had the worst practice ever. I probably landed my run twice when I'm used to landing it eight times, normally, and so that puts you in a weird headspace. It felt so inconsistent.

"I didn't want to feel all that pressure of having to land my first safety run [in competition]. I overflowed with emotion when I was able to land it on the first go, and it opened up a lot of opportunity for me to go try something new.

"[Progression] is so important and after I put down the first run, I got two attempts at landing the cab 1260. I'm super proud of myself for going out and trying to do it.

"I'm looking forward to being able to land it at the next one. Now I'm so eager to see my family, my boyfriend, my dog. Then I will feel all the feelings and be proud of myself."

Kim spent 19 months away from snowboarding in 2019-20 but returned to the sport last year, claiming a sixth X-Games crown and a second World Championship gold.

The 21-year-old revealed that she was feeling the positive impact of sports therapy and felt in a stronger mental state for this year's Games and beyond.

"I am more prepared this time," Kim continued. "Luckily, it was a learning curve since the last time.

"Now that I've grown up a little more and I understand boundaries and I have an amazing therapist, so I think it will make the journey a lot more doable."

Thursday could and should be another big day for the United States at Beijing 2022. 

Team USA have earned only a single gold among their seven medals, but that came on Wednesday through Lindsey Jacobellis and there are now opportunities to add to that total across seven medal events. 

Indeed, in each of the figure skating, snowboard and cross-country skiing, American athletes are set to be at the forefront of Olympic title tussles. 

Still in its early stages, the ice hockey will also focus on the United States, whose men's team – without their NHL stars – face hosts China. 

Ahead of Thursday's action, Stats Perform previews each of the medal events. 

Alpine skiing

With defending Olympic champion Marcel Hirscher having retired, there is no clear favourite in the men's combined. 

There are plenty of potential challengers, however, including France's Alexis Pinturault, who was second to Hirscher in Pyeongchang. The Austrians are certainly worth watching, with Marco Schwarz the reigning world champion and finishing second to compatriot Vincent Kriechmayr in the final downhill training run. 

Cross-country skiing

Jessie Diggins is another American who will hope to have a shot at a medal, having already secured a sprint bronze to go with her team sprint gold four years ago. Ragnhild Haga, the 2018 winner in the women's 10km classic, is not competing this time around, while perennial contender Marit Bjorgen has retired, giving Diggins a great opportunity to challenge. 

Freestyle skiing

In an event making its Olympics debut, the Russian Olympic Committee must be considered among the favourites for the mixed team aerials. In their ranks are Liubov Nikitina and Maxim Burov, who have each previously won world titles. China have had joy in the aerials previously, too, though. 

Figure skating

The free program of the men's singles figure skating should provide plenty of intrigue after the short program blew the race for gold wide open, with defending champion Yuzuru Hanyu a disappointing eighth. 

Nathan Chen is the man best placed to prevail after his 113.97 broke Hanyu's world record. Victory for the American would be true to form too, given he has beaten Hanyu at every head-to-head meeting they have had since the 2018 Games. Hanyu's Japan team-mates Yuma Kagiyama and Shoma Uno are Chen's nearest challengers, the only other too men to top 100 in the short program. 

Luge

Of all Thursday's events, the result of the luge team relay surely feels the most inevitable. Germany are favourites for the fourth and final luge gold of the Games, having won each of the prior three. 

Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt have already achieved a doubles three-peat and could now repeat that remarkable feat in the team event. 

Snowboard

Jacobellis delivered for Team USA in the women's snowboard cross and the men's event is next to be contested, with friends Alessandro Haemmerle of Austria and Lucas Eguibar of Spain set to be in contention. 

For Americans, though, the focus turns to the halfpipe. Chloe Kim was the youngest female Olympic champion in the discipline four years ago and will now be looking to defend her title and secure more snowboard success for her country.  

Speed skating

The women's 5,000m is an event Martina Sablikova has long dominated, including Olympic golds in 2010 and 2014. But she was pipped by Esmee Visser in 2018, only taking silver, and faces fierce competition again from Irene Schouten of the Netherlands and Isabelle Weidemann of Canada. 

Lindsey Jacobellis ended a 16-year wait for Winter Olympics gold as the United States claimed their first top spot on the podium at Beijing 2022.

Jacobellis faltered at the penultimate jump at Turin 2006, but made amends in convincing fashion as she managed gold at the Genting Snow Park in the snowboard cross on Wednesday.

That was the USA's first gold of the 2022 Games as the 36-year-old collected the only title missing from her illustrious trophy cabinet, finishing ahead of France's Chloe Trespeuch who took silver.

Meanwhile, Petra Vlhova laid down an early marker in the women's slalom and, despite a host of world-class skiers coming down after her, claimed Slovakia's first ever Alpine skiing gold.

Vlhova was eighth after the morning session, but produced the run of the day in the afternoon after inspiration from coach Mauro Pini, who revealed the words of encouragement he gave the 26-year-old.

"We were just asking Petra between the two runs to really be courageous," Pini said. "Big heart on the slope, second run. Nothing to lose, just to be in the room tonight and don't regret nothing."

"After the first run I was a bit down, angry and sad," Vlhova added. "I started to not believe in myself. But I'm lucky because I have [the] best team ever and [the] best coach."

Ruud matches Gu feat with big air triumph

Birk Ruud followed in Eileen Gu's footsteps by becoming just the second freestyle skier to win gold at both the Youth Olympic Winter Games and Olympic Winter Games with victory in the men's freeski big air.

The Norwegian, aged 21 years and 313 days, is the youngest to earn an Olympic medal in freestyle skiing for his country, and he did it in some style as well.

The 21-year-old, who skipped last month's X Games to play it safe amid coronavirus, secured top spot before his final run, which he completed draped in a Norwegian flag at Big Air Shougang.

The big air champion credited the victory to his father Oivind, who died of cancer of April 2021.

"I'm just thankful to be in this position and I'm thankful for all the time I had with my dad," Ruud said after his win. "I still have my family, and I have a lot of people that support me, and I'm very thankful for that."

Arlt and Wendl make luge history

Tobias Arlt and Tobias Wendl created luge history as they became the first ever athletes to win the luge doubles three times – earning their fifth Olympic gold.

That equals the Olympic best in the sport set by their countrywoman Natalie Geisenberger, while no other men have ever claimed more first-place finishes than the pair when representing modern-day Germany at the Games.

Wendl and Arlt also joined speed skaters Lidia Skoblikova and Eric Heiden as the only athletes to claim at least five gold medals at the Olympic Winter Games without ever winning silver or bronze.

The German duo also extended their record as the oldest gold medallists in the event (both 34), as Germany continued their dominance in luge events at Beijing 2022.

Shiffrin slips away from record-medal haul chance

Vlhova may have secured her piece of history with Slovakia's maiden Alpine skiing title, but American pre-Games favourite Mikaela Shiffrin had a day to forget.

Shiffrin, a double Olympic and six-time world champion, fouled on the fifth gate just two days after her surprise early exit from the giant slalom.

The 26-year-old has another chance in Friday's super-G event, but admitted she is starting to doubt herself after consecutive failures.

"It's not the end of the world and it's so stupid to care this much, but I feel I have to question a lot now," Shiffrin said. 

"I will try to reset again. Maybe try to reset better this time but I also don't know how to do better because I just don't. I have never been in this position before and I don't know how to handle it." 

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