Shaun White and His Amazing Snowboarding Career

Shaun+White+and+His+Amazing+Snowboarding+Career

Olympian, snowboarder, flying tomato, these words describe Shaun White perfectly. 

 

White survived a heart defect that required two operations when he was an infant. Despite his early health problems, he was soon skateboarding, surfing, skiing, and playing association football (soccer). He took up snowboarding at age six and the following year won his first competition.

 

“Shaun white is an incredible athlete who has many young athletes that look up to him. His work ethic is aso outstanding,” says Lauen Steele. 

 

Shaun became a phenomenon on the amateur circuit, claiming five national titles, and turned professional at age 13. He made his Winter X Games debut in 2000 and won five slopestyle titles (2003–06, 2009), as well as superpipe titles in 2003, 2006, and 2008–13.

At age 15 White fell 0.3 point short of qualifying for the U.S. team for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah. Undeterred, he dominated the professional circuit for the next two years, and when qualifying began for the Turin 2006 Winter Olympics, he won the halfpipe in all five of the Grand Prix events that determined team selection.

 

“He is one of those amazing athletes who has been at the top of hus sport for 20 years,” says Mr. Moore. 

 

At Turin, White’s thick mop of red hair—which had earned him the nickname “the Flying Tomato”—and his gregarious personality made him a media darling, but he was in danger of missing the finals in the halfpipe event after a fall during his first qualifying run. His second run was flawless, however, and it earned him the highest qualifying score of the competition. On his first run of the finals, White performed two 1,080° (three full spins) airs on the frontside of the pipe and a backside 900.

He clinched the gold medal with a 46.8 score on this run, but he showed off his best trick, a spellbinding 1,080° backside air, on the final run of the day. White defended his halfpipe title at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, easily taking the gold medal with a final run that featured his latest signature move: a double McTwist 1260 (two flips while completing three-and-a-half twists). 

 

“His nickname is something that suits him very well and that has a funny backstory. Shaun is amazing at his sport and makes the moves look simple but extremely difficult at the same time, and the fact that he can do is what proves how good of a snowboarder he is,” says Camryn Navey.