What You Should Know About Olympic Snowboarder Dusty Henricksen

Four-time Olympian and three-time gold medalist Shaun White cast a long shadow over the sport of snowboarding (via the official Olympics website). An emerging heir apparent, though, is young Olympic snowboarder Dusty Henricksen (above), scheduled to compete for the very first time in the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, China. Winner of not one but two slopestyle gold medals — first, at the Youth Olympics in 2020, according to NBC Olympics, and again at the Winter X Games in 2021 — Henricksen is the first American athlete to win slopestyle gold at the X Games since White did it back in '09.

That feat, among other accomplishments, including a second-place finish at the Burton U.S. Open in 2020, has the snowboarding community eagerly awaiting the 18-year-old's Olympic premiere. Could the U.S. men's team take home gold in slopestyle in the Winter Olympics, making it three in a row? Expectations are high for the 2022 Winter Games, set to begin on February 4.

He's a prodigy

According to US Ski and Snowboard, Dusty Henricksen was born in Mammoth Lakes, California in 2003. As a child, Henricksen took to any number of outdoor sports and activities beyond just snowboarding, including mountain biking and surfboarding. This adventurous spirit was supported by Henricksen's parents, according to the official Olympics website. By five years old, Henricksen was snowboarding competitively, and the first hint at his greatness came in 2020 at the Swiss Laax open, when he qualified first over other experienced Olympians with a double front-flip hand drag off the knuckle. Video of Henricksen landing that trick went viral, building his acclaim.

Most important to know, and perhaps the key more than anything to Dusty Henricksen's success, is that his very own father was Shaun White's coach, just one of many similarities the young athlete shares with the legendary snowboarder. With his father showing him old videos of Shaun White at California's Big Bear Mountain Resort to learn from, it's no wonder that Henricksen seems well-poised to follow in the Olympian's footsteps.