How can you not love this kid Shaun White? Despite winning three consecutive gold medals in the coolest Winter Olympic sport (the half-pipe competition), raking in over $9 million last year alone in endorsement earnings, and appearing what seems weekly on the cover of dozens of national magazines—he’s apparently perfectly stable, and hasn’t lost his mind or morals, yet. He seems somehow above all the usual pratfalls of celebrity. What exactly is this guy doing right?
The recent profile of White in Rolling Stone, (in which he shirtless torches his snowboard in homage to Mr. Hendrix) he conveys some incredibly strong principles, and he’s had them from the beginning. The kid was sponsored and in the public image since nine, but has avoided the standard rowdy, pot-smoking, booze-swigging snowboarding culture. White was too young to get into any of the post-competition bars as a young pro, and has learned to celebrate in moderation. While the supplemental pastimes are “chillin”, listening to music and videogames—not exactly intellectual pursuits, but still less likely to get you a front page writeup (or “write-down” I should say) on TMZ.
Despite the blissed-out rock star image, mostly formulated by his sponsors, White is a true athlete, wildly competitive and full of ambition. He tells Rolling Stone: “I just can’t relax…I’ve been competing since I was seven years old, so when I have time off, I can’t handle it.” Undoubtedly a gifted athlete, White’s work ethic is at the core of his success.
Regardless of what we choose to do with our careers, or the path we choose; a willingness to stand against the grain and remain an individual, will always serve to build and then sustain our success. Oh yeah, doesn’t hurt to be able to do six backflips on snowboard going 30 miles an hour too.
All my best,