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Shaun White An Amazing Intro in Turin

Shaun White  An Amazing Intro in Turin

One of the most popular athletes in the world, Shaun White is a fantastic snowboarders and skateboarder whose X Games performances seem to get better every year. However, the X Games were always considered to cater to niche sports, and there were many questions going into the 2006 Olympic Games on whether or not White could compete on this level of competition. What would follow is one of the best sporting performances in Olympic history, with White cementing his place amongst the greats in Olympic Games history.

Shaun White

Born in San Diego, California on September 3, 1986, Shaun Roger White is perhaps the most famous X Games athlete in history. He is a skateboarder who has experienced moderate success, and a snowboarder who has a laundry list worth of accomplishments, including multiple medals from the X Games, the Dew Tour, and from the Olympics.

White started snowboarding at only 6 years of age, following in his brother's footsteps. And after falling a few times, Shaun quickly mastered the art of the board and was competing in serious events at only 7 years of age. His talent would exponentially increase from that point, and it wasn't long until Shaun White, aka The Flying Tomato, was synonymous with snowboarding. He's still a very popular athlete today, gearing up for the 2014 Winter Olympics, but his run at the '06 Games in Turin is perhaps the most impressive of his career.

The Flying Tomato Soars Above the Competition

Serious fans of the Olympics didn't quite know what to make of it when the committee decided to include five news sports to debut in the 1998 Winter Olympic Games in Nagano, Japan. One of those, perhaps the most disputed, was snowboarding, with the halfpipe competition to draw in a more modern crowd. Until that point, the X Games and other niche competitions were the only platforms given to such “extreme” winter sports. No one knew how snowboarding would be accepted by the Olympics at large, but it did quite well in Naganao, and it would explode in popularity after '06 in Turin.

Heading into the Olympic season, Shaun White was already an extremely accomplished and widely known snowboarder on the X Games and Dew circuit. The only thing missing from his trophy case, however, was an Olympic Gold Medal. With his eyes on the prize, White began intensifying his training to not only make it to Turin, but to bring home the gold and silence the critics who suggested he couldn't perform on such a stage. He was such a young man that his aptitude for true sport was in doubt.

On February 12, White was competing in the Bardonecchia heats and suffered a fall in the first set. This set him far behind the leader board and it was highly doubtful that he would be able to make it to the final. Barring a near perfect run, White's Olympic trip would be for naught. Amazingly, White was able to do well enough to secure a 7 seed in the heats, which was just enough to get him into the finals by a spot. However, he would be up against the best in the world, and one wrong move would ensure that he finished out of medal contention.

Participating as one of the first competitors in the first leg of the finals, White put on a display for the ages. Full of incredibly difficult flips, leaps and turns, Shaun's first final halfpipe run earned him an incredible score of 46.8 out of a possible 50. His backside air moves and the 1080 sealed the deal, making White the athlete to beat going forward.

Before his second run even started, White noticed the leader boards and realized that, no matter what score he put up, he was the Olympic Gold Medalist. Obviously excited, White refused to play it safe. His second run was even better than the first, offering a spectacular display of death-defying moves with all the style and pizazz one might expect of a 20-year-old X Games athlete.

White silenced his critics and cemented his legacy as one of the greatest snowboarders in history. With four more years of experience, he returned to Olympic competition in the '10 Winter Games and repeated his monumental feat, decimating the field and finishing a full 4 points ahead of the next closest competitor.

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