Before last year, White was virtually unstoppable in halfpipe competitions. He won back-to-back gold medals at the Turin and Vancouver Olympics in 2006 and 2010, respectively, and hasn’t lost at the X Games since 2007. He delivered inconsistent performances in 2014, suffered various injuries, and did not compete in last year’s X Games.
This weekend, White is in the unusual position of the underdog. “I show up and want to do the best I can, and obviously doing well at this event competing … would be great,” he said at a press conference announcing his return. “It’d be a nice refresh after everything that happened at the Olympics.”
The snowboard halfpipe final airs Thursday, January 22, at 9 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.