• AFP-JIJI

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Three-time Olympic halfpipe gold medalist Shaun White’s bid to compete at the Beijing Games, and his fifth Winter Olympics, remained in limbo on Sunday, after the snowboarding great withdrew from the World Cup event in Mammoth Mountain, California.

White, 35, entered the event despite battling COVID-19 in late December.

The American, who was born with a heart defect that required two major surgeries before his first birthday, said his symptoms were relatively mild. But he noted that with his health history, which also includes childhood asthma, “anything to do with lungs and respiratory is not so great.”

White suffered an ankle injury during the event and withdrew from Saturday night’s finals.

Although he can still be selected for the U.S. team, Saturday’s top finishers Ayumu Hirano and Ruka Hirano will likely be the men to beat.

White has been a constant on the U.S. Winter Olympic team since he won his first gold at the Turin Games in 2006 as a 19-year-old.

He retained his title at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games, and claimed a third gold with a dramatic final-run triumph at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.

White said in December that he expected the Beijing Games to be his last.

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