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Shaun White's Unprecedented Success Hot

Shaun White snowboarderAt first glace, Shaun White's appearance would not convince you that he is one of the most successful athletes of our time. The barely 5 foot 8 inch, slender 154-pound San Diego native has long red hair and more often than not, a big grin across his face. Just 24-years old, "The Flying Tomato" has already claimed his spot in snowboarding and skateboarding lore.

White has been on the extreme sports radar for most of his life. Although the gold medalist had two heart surgeries before his first birthday, it didn’t stop him from participating in many sports from a young age. As a child, White was an avid snowboarder, skateboarder, surfer and soccer player.

At seven, White won his first amateur snowboarding competition. Six years later he had won five amateur championships. After signing a sponsorship deal with Burton, White went pro at 13-years old.

White participated in his first Winter X-Games event at 16 where he earned a silver medal in both slopestyle and superpipe. This was just the beginning of the young snowboarder’s Winter X-Games success. From that point on, he has stood on the podium each year.  Since 2002, he has won fourteen more Winter X-Games medals for a total of 16. Of those, a record ten are gold medals.

He has had no problem proving his talents at the top snowboarding venues in the world. At the Winter Dew Tour, White has captured six medals all in the slopestyle and superpipe categories. All those medals were gold. The experienced 24 year-old has also captured gold on the TTR World Snow Board tour and at the SnowboThe Flying Tomato - Shaun Whitearding Grand Prix.

While White had proved himself on the snowboard tour at a young age, it wasn’t until the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino that he established himself as one of the top athletes in the world. After a disappointing first run in the halfpipe, White pulled off a 45.3 and a 46.8 (out of 50) in his second and third round, respectively to seize gold. His Olympic success carried over to Vancouver in 2010 where he blew the halfpipe competition out of the water. His 46.8 first run and 48.4 second run proved unattainable for the other competitors as he finished more than 3 points ahead of the silver medalist, Finland’s Peetu Piiroinen.

As if these credentials weren’t enough, White’s athletic accomplishments can be found in multiple sports—he’s also a successful professional skateboarder. While his skateboarding list of achievements isn’t nearly as extensive as his snowboarding credentials, White still holds gold medals in several competitions, including the X-Games. Not surprisingly, White’s skateboarding medals have come in the halfpipe-esque vert category.

Last week at the 2011 Winter X-Games White failed to escape the elimination round of the slopestyle category. However, the 24 year-old reasserted his dominance in the superpipe where he won his fourth consecutive Winter X-Games superpipe gold medal. While trailing to the US’s Scotty Lago, White turned in his self-proclaimed best run of his life, scoring a 97.33 (out of 100) after landing his signature move a "1260 McTwist".

The American public loves watching athletic legends come to age—as evident in our ceaseless support of Michael Jordon, Tiger Woods, Derek Jeter and other superstars. As Shaun White continues to dominate Men’s snowboarding, he will certainly establish a legacy.

 

Max Selim

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