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Shaun White closes out Olympic career without another trip to the podium

The oldest halfpipe rider in Olympic history said he hopes to have inspired the next generation of snowboarders.
USA's Shaun White gestures after his run in the snowboard men's halfpipe final run during the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games at the Genting Snow Park H & S Stadium in Zhangjiakou on Feb. 11, 2022.
USA's Shaun White gestures after his run in the snowboard men's halfpipe final run during the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games at the Genting Snow Park H & S Stadium in Zhangjiakou on Feb. 11, 2022.Ben Stansall / AFP - Getty Images
/ Source: NBC News

Snowboarder Shaun White, the face of modern winter sports, closed out his Olympic career Friday in Beijing without adding another medal to his collection.

The 35-year-old Carlsbad, California, native finished off the podium at the men’s halfpipe final Friday morning at Genting Snow Park.

White, in fourth place in the third run, landed a 1440 but fell on the next trick, ending his chances at a medal in what he has said are his final Games.

Japan’s Ayumu Hirano, in the last run of the contest, launched to Olympic gold with a run that included a triple cork to score 96 points.

He overtook Australia’s Scotty James, who won silver. Switzerland’s Jan Scherrer took bronze. 

Hirano, 23, won Olympic gold Friday after twice winning silver, most recently behind White in 2018 in PyeongChang.

White, who recently announced this would be his fifth and final stint as an Olympian, leaves the sport with three gold medals.

He had previously soared to the top the podium in Turin (2006), Vancouver (2010) and PyeongChang (2018). He finished fourth in Sochi in 2014.

White punched his ticket to Friday morning’s final with a fourth-place finish in qualifying. He had to rebound from a disastrous crash in his first run that suddenly put his gold-medal defense in jeopardy.

“Everything was clicking, and I think I just I took that little laxed approach to that last hit and next thing I knew I was sliding on my back thinking, ‘What happened?’” said a relieved White shortly after making the final.

To casual followers of the sport, introduced to the Olympics in Nagano 1998, White is the only male champion they’ve ever known.

Sporting wild red hair in his early career, White was hailed as the “Flying Tomato,” a nickname he begrudgingly embraced but sponsors and fans lapped up.

He’s maintained popularity despite settling a sexual harassment lawsuit from Lena Zawaideh, a former drummer in White’s rock band, Bad Things.

The oldest halfpipe rider in Olympic history said he hopes to have inspired the next generation of snowboarders.

“I’m just enjoying every single moment,” White said shortly after opening ceremonies. “Everyone (competitors) catching up. There are incredibly talented riders out there, and I feel like I had a helping hand to inspire them.”

This story first appeared on NBCNews.com.