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Shaun White is competing in the Winter Olympics 2010 in Vancouver in snowboarding.

A widely-celebrated figure before winning gold in Torino, Shaun White has since become an action sports icon, unmistakable in part due to his trademark shock of red hair. Though the two-sport star (skateboarding, snowboarding) now navigates a multi-million dollar empire, life has not always been glamorous; among other obstacles, White was born with a heart defect that required two major surgeries.

Entering the 2006 Torino Games, White was widely considered the favorite to take Olympic gold in men's halfpipe. However, the Carlsbad, California, native got an early scare when a mistake on his first qualifying run left him with just 37.7 points, facing a do-or-die scenario to earn a spot in the final with his second qualifying run. White ended up qualifying with ease on that second run, and in the final, he did not disappoint, claiming the Olympic title with a dominant performance. Riding to AC/DC's Back in Black, the then 19 year old racked up 46.8 points in the first run of the final round, a score that no other competitor would surpass. During his interview with NBC after the victory, White broke down, unable to hold back his tears.

In addition to owning the Olympic snowboarding crown, White is also a champion skateboarder who claimed the skateboard vert title at the 2007 Summer X Games, making him the first athlete ever to win Summer and Winter X Games titles. White skates professionally in the summer, leaving him roughly six months on the snow each year, making his achievements in snowboarding and skateboarding all the more impressive. And though White didn't win his first X Games title until 2007, his skateboarding career has long been ordained for greatness—he first started skateboarding with the legendary Tony Hawk at age nine.



In the spring of 2009, Red Bull, one of White's principal sponsors, built him a private halfpipe complete with foam pit at Silverton Mountain in southwestern Colorado. Dubbed Project X, the pipe was built on the backside of a mountain in an inconspicuous avalanche chute, reachable only by helicopter and snowmobile. There, it took White all of three days to land the trick that would come to dominate snowboard chatter over the summer and beyond: the double-cork. The game-changing maneuver involves two off-axis rotations, or diagonal flips. And at the season's opening World Cup event in New Zealand in August, White debuted back-to-back double-cork spins en route to victory. The first of those double-corks was a cab 1080 stalefish, meaning that while White was twice flipping diagonally, he was also executing three full spins and grabbing the board at his back heel edge.

White was born with a heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot, which his website describes as "a series of heart malformations." The heart defect required two major surgeries at a young age. As reported in USA Today, he was also severely bow-legged early in his childhood and had to wear corrective leg braces at night. However, neither malady stopped White from trying snowboarding at age six (with the assistance of his father, Roger). The entire White family has since taken up snowboarding, with Cathy (his mother) being the last to learn.

When White first started snowboarding, his career put a significant financial burden on his family, costing his parents $20,000 a year, according to USA Today. In the infancy of his career, the family (Shaun, Roger, Cathy and his siblings, Jesse and Kari) would drive up to Mammoth every weekend and sleep in their 1964 Econoline van (a.k.a. "Big Mo"), cooking meals on a stove in the back. As Shaun got older, the family began staying at a motel, but the lifestyle still required significant sacrifice. Cathy spent her weeks shuttling back and forth between bringing Shaun to Mammoth and waiting tables in San Diego, and by 2002, her 1998 Honda had reportedly accumulated 180,000 miles.

From his relatively modest beginning, White has ascended to a staggering level of success. He reportedly earns more than $9 million annually, primarily from endorsement deals with Burton, Hewlett-Packard, Oakley, Red Bull, and Target, putting him second behind skateboarding legend Tony Hawk in Forbes' 2008 list of the highest-paid action sports stars. White also owns a Lamborghini and three homes, including one on the beach in Carlsbad, California. And like the aforementioned Hawk, White reached a notable digital milestone in November 2008 when he officially became the title character in his own video game, "Shaun White Snowboarding."



SHAUN WHITE: FACTS

How tall is Shaun White? How old is Shaun White? Where does Shaun White live? Who is Shaun White dating? Find out here.

Age: 27 years old
Birthday: September 3, 1986
Height: 5' 8"
Weight: 140 lbs.
Nickname: Future Boy
The Egg
The Flying Tomato
The Animal
Full Name / Real Name: Shaun Roger White
Birthplace: San Diego, CA
Hometown: Carlsbad, CA
Current Residence: Carlsbad, CA





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