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Shaun White – Defying Gravity

The face of winter sports success in America is unbeatable in the halfpipe and remarkable in the air. Shaun White has proved his mettle in snowboarding and skateboarding, emerging as the sports superstar.

Early Life

The two-time Olympic gold medallist was born to Cathy and Roger White in San Diego, California. As a child, he went through two open-heart surgeries to correct a heart defect known as Tetralogy of Fallot. Surfing and skateboarding were a part of Shaun’s adventures as he grew up in California. In addition to these, winters were usually spent skiing at Bear Mountain and Okemo Mountain. He enjoyed living life on the edge, so at the age of six, Cathy introduced him to the board and found that he was able to perfect his jumps very quickly. His family supported him on every step to follow his love for snowboarding. By the time he was 12, White had won many medals.

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Image credit: “Shaun White 2008” by Veronica Belmont

Career

His career as a snowboarder took off from the age of seven, and since then White took part in many competition and won many accolades. White has participated in three Winter Olympics so far and has won gold in the snowboard halfpipe event during the 2006 and 2010 Winter Olympics. He was recognized as the best athlete at the 2003 Winter X Games. He joined the skateboarding tour in 2002 and qualified for the Summer X Games next year. He made history in the X games by becoming the first summer-winter participant.

He gained popularity as the best crossover star. He endured his first injury in the 2004 X games and had to keep away from sports for almost six months. He started getting media attention in 2006 and the nickname Flying Tomato became synonymous to White. Shaun won gold in the Winter Olympics of 2006 where he executed one of the best runs of his life.

The 2008 U.S. Open Snowboarding Championship saw White execute a brilliant second run as he captured his third consecutive snowboard halfpipe title. In the 25th US Burton open, he stood third in slopestyle and first in halfpipe. The year 2008 also saw the release of his first video game which is Shaun White Snowboarding.

In the year 2009, White got the gold medal in super pipe at the Winter X Games for the second time consecutively. He was also able to bag a gold for slopestyle after winning bronze for 2 years. In the same year, he won the FIS World Cup Men’s Halfpipe event at Vancouver.

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In the years leading to 2010, Shaun acquired more medals and inspired budding snowboarders. In the 2010 Olympics he earned a score of 48.4 winning the gold medal once again. He was overjoyed on his triumph and he has heightened the expectations of the audience with amazing jumps.

The 2011 Winter X Games awarded White his fourth straight Gold after completing the run landing the Double McTwist 1260. His performances got even better and at the 2012 Winter Games he became the first athlete to score a perfect 100 in the men’s Snowboard Superpipe. This was a great achievement for Shaun White. It was also a historic event for Winter X Games.

His 6th consecutive win in Superpipe in the Winter X Games of 2013 increased his popularity and fan following.

The 2014 Olympics saw White finishing fourth in the halfpipe event. He was one of the most talked about athletes during the Winter Olympics of 2014.

Life After Competing

In addition to defying gravity, Shaun White has also made his earnings through endorsements. He has also made a cameo appearance on the silver screen in the 2011 move Friends with Benefits. He also plays guitar in the rock band, Bad Things. White’s shock of red hair gives him the nickname “Flying Tomato”. White closely studies videos of other snowboarders to understand the technicalities of the jumps and to find out how he could beat them. He enjoys watching Motocross and his favorite book is ‘The Outsiders’ by S. E. Hilton.

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Image credit: www.dewtour.com

He has purchased three homes in California and two in Utah. He was also arrested in 2012 near a hotel in Nashville for public intoxication and vandalism. His media appearances made him popular worldwide and he has garnered the attention of many snowboarders who are learning the sport. Snowboarding has become a mainstream sport and is more widely known than when White had started his career. He continues to enjoy snowboarding as well as skateboarding.

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