The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics appears to be a stomping ground for first-time Olympians looking to grab the gold. In the world of snowboarding, 19-year-old Dusty Henricksen is that exact athlete, as he competes against legendary vet Shaun White, the most decorated Olympic snowboarder of all time who will be participating in his fifth Winter Games.
In his first ever X Games in Aspen, 2021, Dusty managed to take home two gold medals, becoming the first American in 12 years to win a men’s snowboard slopestyle gold. Three-time Olympic gold medalist Shaun was the last person to win such an honor. It looks like the playing field is stacked and the Winter Games are going to feature some epic battles, especially with Dusty in the mix. Find out more about the young champion, below.
1. Dusty Started Snowboarding In California
Dusty was born on February 2, 2003 in San Bernadino, California. At the age of 2, he began snowboarding on the slopes of Big Bear. By the age of 12, he was taking over Mammoth Lake, where the conditions were more suitable for competitive action. Soon he landed a spot on the U.S. Snowboard Rookie Team. He recently took the gold medal at the 2020 Youth Olympic Games in Lausanne, Switzerland.
2. His Parents Made Sacrifices For His Snowboarding Ambitions
Dusty said his family sacrificed a lot for his snowboarding dreams, even moving 300 miles from Big Bear to Mammoth. “My dad was driving me to Mammoth, to Southern California, like, every single weekend for three seasons in a row before they finally pulled the plug and ended up moving up there and living in a motorhome for a year to finally wait and find a house that we could afford and got a house,” Dusty shared with Yahoo. “So the whole family had kind of made that move just for me and my brother just so we could snowboard more. And I can’t thank them enough because it made the difference, like, night and day because it’s just such a nice community there.”
3. Dusty Was First To Land A Quad Cork At U.S. Open
Not many people had heard about Dusty, until he showed up and showed out at the 2020 Laax Open, where he performed a double frontflip hand drag off the knuckle that went viral. He also pulled off the first-ever quad cork — a jump with four off axis flips and five full rotations — at a U.S. Open. This was weeks after his first World Cup win at Mammoth.
4. Dusty’s Dad Coached Shaun White
Dusty was compared to Shaun after he won the X Games slopestyle gold medal back in January. They have a lot more in common than just pulling off that feat, however. Dusty’s dad Marko helped coach Shaun at Big Bear when the champion began his illustrious career. Marko even used to show a young Dusty video of Shaun performing his magic on the slopes.
5. Biggie Smalls Is His Favorite Artist
When Dusty is getting pumped up to snowboard, he said he loves to listen to The Notorious B.I.G. During his last competition, Dusty told NBC he had Biggie Small’s “Hypnotize” on repeat. As for being musically inclined himself, Dusty revealed he plays a “little guitar” and has fooled around with the ukelele.