U.S. snowboarder White waits in line during a breakdown of the chairlift at the slopestyle snowboard training course for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in Rosa Khutor

WATCH LIVE: Men’s snowboard halfpipe qualifying, featuring Shaun White

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Today at 5 a.m. ET on NBCOlympics.com, Shaun White begins his quest to become the first American man to win three Winter Olympic gold medals in the same individual event with qualifying in snowboard halfpipe.

White, who pulled out of the inaugural Olympic slopestyle competition to focus on halfpipe, will look to turn back the world’s best – including Swiss rider Iouri Podladtchikov (a.k.a. “I-Pod”), the 2013 halfpipe world champion, and Japan’s 15-year-old dynamo, Ayumu Hirano.

White’s American teammates – Greg Bretz (who defeated White in the first of five Olympic qualifiers this winter), Taylor Gold and Danny Davis – are also potential medal threats.

Here are some quick details on those main contenders.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH QUALIFYING LIVE at 5 a.m. ET.

President Obama to female Olympians: ‘Y’all crushed it’ (video)

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 29:  U.S. President Barack Obam (R) is presented with a Team USA surfboard by Olympian Simone Biles (2nd L) as first lady Michelle Obama (L) looks on during an East Room event at the White House September 29, 2016 in Washington, DC. President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama welcome the 2016 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams to the White House to honor their participation and success in the Rio Olympic Games this year.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
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President Barack Obama hosted the 2016 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams at the White House on Thursday.

Obama opened his speech by saying that he had planned on doing a floor routine with Simone Biles, before ultimately deciding that the room was too crowded. First Lady Michelle Obama interjected to remind the crowd that her husband “can’t touch his toes.”

The President then singled out the athletic accomplishments of Olympians including Biles, Michelle Carter, Simone Manuel, Claressa Shields, Kristin Armstrong, Kim Rhode, Allyson Felix, Brianna Rollins, Nia Ali, Kristi Castlin, Katie Ledecky, Michael Phelps and the men’s and women’s basketball teams.

He also recognized: Ibtihaj Muhammad, the first American to compete in the Olympics wearing a hijab, Sam Kendricks, the U.S. Army reservist who put down his pole and stood at attention when the national anthem started playing, Will Claye, who proposed to U.S. hurdler Queen Harrison after winning an Olympic silver medal, and Abbey D’Agostino, who helped an opponent to her feet after a crash.

“That is exactly what the Olympic spirit and the American spirit should be all about,” Obama said about the sportsmanship of D’Agostino.

The President was particularly enthusiastic about the performance of the female athletes.

“2016 belonged to America’s women Olympians,” Obama said. “Y’all crushed it.”

Watch Obama’s full speech here.

After Obama’s speech, Biles presented him with a surfboard autographed by the Olympians in attendance.

“I’m going to have a lot of time to surf next year,” Obama said.

MORE: Photos of Team USA at the White House

Photos: Team USA at the White House

Twitter: @TeamUSA
Twitter: @TeamUSA
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President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama hosted the 2016 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams at the White House on Thursday.

Below are some of the best photos of Team USA from inside the White House: