Shaun White has long been one of the most recognizable faces of those competing for the United States in the Winter Olympics. Once known for his mop of cascading red locks — earning him the nickname, The Flying Tomato, which he tired of in 2010 — White has adopted a more clean cut look for his fourth Olympic Games.
The two-time gold medalist will look for a third after a disappointing fourth place finish in Sochi in 2014.
He’s named after South African pro surfer Shaun Tomson. Like White, Tomson also ventured into a number of other pursuits, including acting and writing.
White was just seven years old when he signed his first sponsorship with the snowboard equipment and apparel company, Burton. The sponsors have continued signing on since, including Oakley, Target, Beats and Red Bull.
White has his own eponymous video game: Shaun White Snowboarding. It was released in 2008 and made for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, Wii, Nintendo DS, Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X and Xbox 360 systems.
White once played guitar in a band called Bad Things. They disbanded in 2015, but not before he performed at Lollapalooza in 2013.
White’s two Olympic gold medals are the most of any X Games competitor — despite the fact that he missed the podium in Sochi in 2014, finishing a disappointing fourth.
We may see White competing in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo — on a skateboard. White is a decorated skateboarder as well, with five X Games medals, including a gold in 2011. Skateboarding will make its Olympic debut in 2020.
White briefly considered retiring in October after a brutal crash in New Zealand left him with 62 stitches in his face. And then, of course, he didn’t retire, instead coming back and doing what he does best: putting together a 100-point qualifying run at the U.S. Grand Prix in Snowmass, Colorado.
White was born with a congenital heart defect, Tetralogy of Fallot, which features four central problems: a hole between the lower chambers of the heart, an obstruction from the heart to the lungs, the aorta lies over the hole in the lower chambers, and the muscle surrounding the lower right chamber becomes overly thickened. There are fewer than 20,000 cases per year.
He may have been seven when he landed his first sponsorship, but White waited awhile after to turn pro — delaying it until he was all of 13 years old.
White was once a stunt double on the Disney show, The Jersey. The show, based on the Monday Night Football Club books by Gordon Korman, premiered in 1999 and aired its finale in 2004.