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Meet Shaun White: Three-time Olympic gold medalist and former professional snowboarder

Shaun White is a three-time Olympic gold medalist for Team USA, a former professional snowboarder, and musician.

Olympic gold medalist Shaun White
Olympic gold medalist Shaun White. Photo Credit: Steven Piper.
Olympic gold medalist Shaun White. Photo Credit: Steven Piper.

Shaun White is a three-time Olympic gold medalist for Team USA, a former professional snowboarder, and musician. He chatted about his latest endeavors.

Shaun White’s love for snowboarding

White opened up about what he loved most about snowboarding (when he competed professionally). “I loved a lot of different aspects of it,” he admitted. “There was a level of enjoyment I got out of it.”

“Snowboarding was both fun, but it also had a level of fulfillment because I was working at something,” he noted.

“I would try tricks that had never been done before so when I succeeded (and won major competitions), I would get recognition. Those moments in time would make me feel fulfilled,” he elaborated.

“My love for the sport and sports in general runs a little deeper,” he said. “Besides the competition, there is a sense of adventure. I’ve been able to travel all over the world to Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Korea, China, and South America, among other countries.”

“That allowed me to check out new cultures and new ways of living, and people doing different things. That was one of my favorite joys that has come about because of the sport of snowboarding… I just love the adventures, for sure,” he added.

Daily motivations as an athlete and as a creative

Regarding his daily motivations as an athlete and as a creative, White shared, “I’ve always loved creating. The core of what I do is creating… even on the mountain, I am creating a new trick, or I am taking a trick that has been done before and I am putting my own style and my own flavor to it.”

“I love creating new products and new styles,” he noted. “There is a really fun thing that happens when you create… there is an ownership when you make a new product, and I love that connection.”

“I recently started my own brand called Whitespace with my brother on this product that I made, and I’ve found enjoyment and fulfillment out of it. I really love that,” he added.

The digital age

On being an athlete in the digital age, at a time when streaming, technology, and social media are so prevalent, he said, “It’s wild. I remember when I was younger, you would film a snowboard part to come out in a big snowboard movie, and you would ride the entire season, and everyone would wait. Your video would come out at the very end of the year and it was a big deal.”

“Now, with social media, I can land a new trick and post it that day, night, or hour and have millions of people see it. Social media is such an amazing tool to use to spread inspiration and share what you are up to, and keep people up to date on all sorts of things,” he said.

“Social media was something I wasn’t into in the beginning until I really found my own way with it and what I like to use it for: to keep up with trends and keeping up on music,” he added.

Lessons learned from his journey as an Olympic snowboarder

On the lessons learned from his journey as an Olympic snowboarder, he said, “I learned that I rise to the occasion. When I am at the Olympics and the world is watching, I am both nervous and excited… it’s a mixture of emotions.”

“This journey has taught me a lot about my resilience, my focus, and my ability to take in what is going on around me and then quiet that noise, and then, perform. That is one of my greatest accomplishments throughout my career: being able to calm that noise,” he added.

Snack line partnership

White has partnered with CVS Pharmacy for the launch of Well Market, his new snack brand. This consumables line features snacks, beverages, and groceries.

On his snack line partnership, White said, “It’s amazing. I am a hug fan of CVS. When I was younger, CVS was the place where my mom would go whenever I needed cold medications, and as I got older, I would go there to treat bumps and bruises with band-aids and ACE wraps. Now, it has become my one stop shop for all my travel needs.”

“When I heard about the snack line I was so impressed with a lot of the products, and I was thrilled to be a part of it. This way, I was able to make my love for CVS official,” he acknowledged.

Advice for young and aspiring snowboarders and athletes

For young and aspiring snowboarders and athletes, he said with a sweet laugh, “Wear a helmet, for sure. Safety first. Honestly, my mom forced me to wear a helmet when I was a kid, and I am so thankful that she did that. It’s part of life… you are going to crash, and you are going to fall down, so you want to get back up again. Taking the necessary safety measures into account is always important.”

“When you get in a car, put a seatbelt on, just do it,” he said. “Luckily, the technology in helmets has gotten so much better. They are so lightweight and not what they used to be.”

“Also, set your goals high and have fun with it. Every time that I succeeded in my life and career, I’ve always had a serious goal and I’ve found fun and interesting ways to get there,” he added.

“When I wanted to get stronger and be more fit, I would binge-watch TV and during every commercial break,” he noted.

“I would pause to do 30 pushups, 30 sit-ups, and 30 squats until I would finish the ‘Game of Thrones’ seasons, and I would come out of the time warp ripped,” he said with a sweet laugh. “If I would want another episode, I would earn it.”

“Now, I am making everybody do it with me. There are ways to make exercise and eating well (diet) fun. If I am enjoying it, then I will stick with it, and I will be a happier person later on,” he said.

“These days, mental health and wellness are such important topics, and they’ve kept me enthused about what I am doing. It doesn’t have to be a grind always,” he added.

Career-defining moments

White is a firm believer that the adverse times help mold him and make him stronger in life. “I lost the Olympics in Sochi back in 2014 when I was shoo-in. Having lost that event was such an eye-opener for me. The worst thing in the world happened… I lost at the world stage when everyone was expecting me to win.”

“When I went home, I dried the tears, and I realized that I am still alive and I’m still here. This just taught me so much appreciation and gratitude for what I do, and the fact that my career wasn’t over. I took that time to enjoy my life with friends and family,” he elaborated.

“This was a major life lesson. My biggest failure brought me back to a grounded reality and it helped me go win the next Olympics,” he added.

Tanner Novlan

White had great words about actor Tanner Novlan (“The Bold and The Beautiful”). “Tanner is amazing, actually,” he said. “Tanner is just a great guy, and I am happy to call him a friend.”

Success

On his definition of the word success, he said, “If you asked me a few years ago, success would mean winning. Today, success means overall health and wellness. You can be really great at something but struggling in other places in your life.”

“Now, success is having a well-balanced life with friends, family, and the people you care about. It’s a nice synergy of everything and that’s what I am striving for today in my life, and I think I am doing a pretty good job,” he added.

Closing thoughts on the new snack line

For his fans and followers, White said about his new snack line, “I feel it’s amazing, and that CVS upped the level here, and they upped the game in the snack department.”

“Personally, my favorites are the maple cinnamon almonds. These almonds are flavor-fused during the sprouting process,” he concluded.

To learn more about Shaun White, follow him on Instagram.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 21,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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