Shaun White withdraws from Winter X Games

Shaun White
Getty Images

Shaun White‘s return to the Winter X Games ended before he could take his first competition run in nearly three years.

White tweaked one of his knees in practice in the week leading up to Sunday night’s snowboard halfpipe event in Aspen, Colo., according to his social media.

“After talking with the medical staff, decided that pushing through would only make things worse,” was posted on White’s Instagram about four hours before the contest. “It’s a difficult decision to make, but just need to give my knee some time to recover and I’ll be back soon.”

White, 34, last competed in snowboarding at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, taking his third gold medal. He returned to riding after an aborted attempt to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics in skateboarding.

Every time it just feels like a new go at it,” White, who next year will be older than any man to compete in an Olympic snowboard halfpipe, said in an X Games video interview last week. “I don’t really, like, let off the gas. You may not see me, but I’m still doing all the things that I need to.”

White’s anticipated return to X Games, his first time at the biggest annual snowboard competition since 2017, was billed as a showdown with Australian Scotty James. James took bronze in PyeongChang and won three of the last four X Games titles.

But Japanese 19-year-old Yuto Totsuka prevailed in Aspen, beating James for a third consecutive head-to-head and stamping himself as the early 2022 Olympic favorite. Totsuka, 11th in PyeongChang as the youngest entrant, ranked first on Sunday based on overall impression instead of any of his four runs being scored.

He had a pair of 1440s in one of his runs, according to commentators.

James took second, followed by another Japanese, Ruka HiranoTaylor Gold was the top American in fourth. At least one American man made the halfpipe podium at the first 23 editions of the X Games in the U.S., but none have done so the last two years.

Earlier on the last day of competition Sunday, snowboarder Jamie Anderson earned her eighth X Games title, but her first in big air.

Anderson, the two-time Olympic champion and seven-time X Games champion in slopestyle, beat a big air field that included every medalist from the last three X Games, plus every 2018 Olympic medalist, led by Austrian Anna Gasser (who was seventh on Sunday).

Anderson, 30, is already the only female snowboarder with multiple Olympic titles. She said after winning Friday’s slopestyle crown that she thought this might be her last competitive season, but now doesn’t know when she will retire.

Anderson is one Winter X Games medal shy of the record 20 held by Canadian snowboarder Mark McMorris and two golds shy of the female record held by American snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis.

American men won snowboard slopestyle (Dusty Henricksen) and ski slopestyle (Nick Goepper).

Henricksen, a 17-year-old X Games rookie, became the first U.S. male snowboarder to win an X Games Aspen slopestyle since White in 2009. Previously, his biggest title was the 2020 Youth Winter Olympics.

He beat a field that included Olympic champion Red Gerard (seventh on Sunday). It lacked five-time X Games champ McMorris, who missed X Games for the first time since his 2011 debut due to a positive coronavirus test.

Goepper, an Olympic silver and bronze medalist, earned his fourth X Games ski slopestyle title and first since a three-peat from 2013-15.

What’s next for snowboarders and freeskiers is unclear. The biennial world championships set for China in February were canceled, but could be rescheduled.

The Burton U.S. Open, usually a season-ender in late February or early March for snowboarders, was also canceled due to the pandemic.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Paris 2024 Olympic marathon route unveiled

Paris 2024 Olympic Marathon
Paris 2024

The 2024 Olympic marathon route will take runners from Paris to Versailles and back.

The route announcement was made on the 233rd anniversary of one of the early, significant events of the French Revolution: the Women’s March on Versailles — “to pay tribute to the thousands of women who started their march at city hall to Versailles to take up their grievances to the king and ask for bread,” Paris 2024 President Tony Estanguet said.

Last December, organizers announced the marathons will start at Hôtel de Ville (city hall, opposite Notre-Dame off the Seine River) and end at Les Invalides, a complex of museums and monuments one mile southeast of the Eiffel Tower.

On Wednesday, the rest of the route was unveiled — traversing the banks of the Seine west to the Palace of Versailles and then back east, passing the Eiffel Tower before the finish.

The men’s and women’s marathons will be on the last two days of the Games at 8 a.m. local time (2 a.m. ET). It will be the first time that the women’s marathon is held on the last day of the Games after the men’s marathon traditionally occupied that slot.

A mass public marathon will also be held on the Olympic marathon route. The date has not been announced.

The full list of highlights among the marathon course:

• Hôtel de ville de Paris (start)
• Bourse de commerce
• Palais Brongniart
• Opéra Garnier
• Place Vendôme
• Jardin des Tuileries
• The Louvre
• Place de la Concorde
• The bridges of Paris
(Pont de l’Alma; Alexandre III;
Iéna; and more)
• Grand Palais
• Palais de Tokyo
• Jardins du Trocadéro
• Maison de la Radio
• Manufacture et Musées
nationaux de Sèvres
• Forêt domaniale
des Fausses-Reposes
• Monuments Pershing –
• Château de Versailles
• Forêt domaniale de Meudon
• Parc André Citroën
• Eiffel Tower
• Musée Rodin
• Esplanade des Invalides (finish)

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

International Boxing Association lifts ban on Russia, Belarus

Boxing gloves

The International Boxing Association (IBA) lifted its ban on amateur boxers from Russia and Belarus over the war in Ukraine that had been in place since early March.

“The IBA strongly believes that politics shouldn’t have any influence on sports,” the federation said in a press release. “Hence, all athletes should be given equal conditions.”

Most international sports federations banned athletes from Russia and Belarus indefinitely seven months ago, acting after an IOC recommendation. It is believed that the IBA is the first international federation in an Olympic sport to lift its ban.

The IOC has not officially changed its recommendation from last winter to exclude Russia and Belarus athletes “to protect the integrity of the events and the safety of the other participants.”

Last week, IOC President Thomas Bach said in an interview with an Italian newspaper that Russian athletes who do not endorse their country’s war in Ukraine could at some point be accepted back into international sports, competing under a neutral flag.

IBA, in lifting its ban, will also allow Russia and Belarus flags and national anthems.

“The time has now come to allow all the rest of the athletes of Russia and Belarus to participate in all the official competitions of their sports representing their countries,” IBA President Umar Kremlev, a Russian, said in a press release last week. “Both the IOC and the International Federations must protect all athletes, and there should be no discrimination based on nationality. It is the duty of all of us to keep sports and athletes away from politics.”

In 2019, the IOC stripped the IBA — then known as AIBA — of its Olympic recognition following an inquiry committee report into finance, governance, refereeing and judging. The IOC ran the Tokyo Olympic boxing competition.

The IBA will not run qualifying events for the 2024 Paris Games, but it does still hold world championships, the next being a men’s event in Uzbekistan next year.

Boxing, introduced on the Olympic program in 1904, was not included on the initial program for the 2028 Los Angeles Games but can still be added. The IBA must address concerns “around its governance, its financial transparency and sustainability and the integrity of its refereeing and judging processes,” Bach said last December.

On Sept. 23, the IBA suspended Ukraine’s boxing federation, citing “government interference.” Ukraine boxers are still allowed to compete with their flag and anthem.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!