Shaun White aka ‘The Flying Tomato’ brought the sport of Snowboarding to levels that few could have imagined and he was himself an integral part in getting Snowboarding into the Winter Olympics where he won three Gold Medals on the half-pipe.
At his peak, nobody flew higher than Shaun White and it wasn’t even close, both metaphorically and physically. The airs he’d get on the half-pipe made everyone else look like they were competing in a different sport. He also reached the apex of his field by winning 3 Winter Olympics gold medals and the most X-Games gold medals of any snowboarder.
Shaun White recently sat down with Steve-O for Wild Ride!. White was asked about the ‘Olympic Curse’, the idea that Olympic athletes have nowhere to go after winning gold or have relatively few options, or that they spiral out of control because they achieved their life’s goals at a young age. He discussed how he avoided that by always knowing where he wanted to go with his life and career.
Shaun White on the ‘Olympic Curse’
I was lucky enough to hang out with Shaun one night. It was at the after part for Just Friends, a Mila Kunis-Justin Timberlake movie he had a cameo in where he played himself.
We took a few shots. The he told me and a friend a story about landing at the airport in NYC after winning Olympic gold and how the airport terminal broke out into a spontaneous slow clap and up until that point he had no idea how big of a deal his Olympics achievement was back home. I got chills just hearing the story.
Years before Snowboarding was added to the Winter Olympic Games, Shaun was just getting started. He told Steve-O about his first tour with Bam Margera and Tony Hawk.
To be a fly on the wall of those early days when the X Games was still the biggest event in Extreme Sports and the Jackass stars, Tony Hawk, and Shaun White were all on top of the world.