Shaun White to compete at skateboarding world champs before Tokyo 2020 decision
Shaun White is taking the next step in his skateboarding career.
The triple Olympic snowboard champion's going to take a shot at the Skateboarding World Championships in Brazil this September, and depending on how things go, may try to add to his Olympic gold medal collection at Tokyo 2020.
“I’ve been watching the competitions lately and got really inspired,” the 32-year-old said on NBC's TODAY show on Tuesday 23 July, just one year from the Olympics in Japan.
“I thought it would be amazing to go compete at the world championships in September. … First steps are first, see what happens [before an Olympic decision].”
The world champs will give White an opportunity to book a ticket for Tokyo 2020 as the top three males and the top three females will qualify for skateboarding's big debut in Tokyo.
White is a 13-time snowboard X-Games champion, and has won 5 X-Games medals in skateboard between 2005 and 2011, but all in Vert which is not an Olympic event. Only ''park'' and ''street'' will be contested.
"Park" is the aim for White, here's his latest practice clip:
"I am here to see how things go"
“Honestly, I am here to see how things go,” White said at the September event in Marseille, according to French news agency AFP.
“I haven’t made a decision either way [on 2020], I just figured, I 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.”
White made it clear that he hadn't retired after his amazing third gold medal win at PyeongChang 2018.
He made his sport swap to skateboard in July 2018, and has been focused solely on the event ever since.
While making Tokyo will be a big challenge, making skateboard's Olympic debut is also a big motivator for him.
White has transitioned to ''park'' skating, which takes place in a hollowed-out bowl course. Skaters ride the complicated curves and dome dishes, whilst also getting high into the air.
In September 2018, White competed at a bowl event in France, but it didn't go to plan.
“It was bad. I had really a poor performance and I’m very happy that happened because now I know where to be, where the level of the young skateboarders is at and I’m hoping to take that loss as a motivator to now get to that place and hopefully start winning.”
- Shaun White to the US Olympic committee
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Qualification for Tokyo 2020
In March 2019, USA Skateboarding named a national skateboarding team but White's name was not on the list.
But the national team isn't the US Olympic team, that will be chosen on qualification results.
80 athletes will compete in skateboarding at Tokyo 2020, 20 males and 20 females in each of the park and street categories.
As Olympic hosts, Japan gains one automatic entry per event.
The top three male and top three female skaters at the World Skateboarding Championships in 2020 will also qualify.
The remaining spots will be determined over the course of the 2019–20 qualifying period, based on the top-16 rankings.
"He didn't get to practice it" - Coach JJ Thomas on Shaun White's 2018 gold run