Los Angeles

Shaun White is Back to Basics, Picking Up a Skateboard and Eyeing the Summer Olympics

You know Shaun White as the three-time Gold winner for snowboarding. But now he's heading back to his roots.

There is no doubt that when people hear of snowboarding legends one of the first names that comes to mind is Shaun White, the three-time Olympic gold medalist.

Although the 32-year-old is best known for his work and love of snowboarding, he is deciding to go back to what started it all, his first love: skateboarding

"It's funny I mean I've always considered myself just as much of a skateboarder as a snowboarder," White said.

Even though people are used to hearing about White's snowboarding accomplishments, there is something about skating that brings him the same joy.

"Something about skating, maybe I just love it more sometimes because I don't get to do it as much and my snowboarding career is really doing its thing," he said.

Hours after winning his third snowboard gold, White's mind was already shifting to skateboarding. While he was on his way to pick up his gold medal in South Korea, he had already made a call to find out about qualifications for the skateboarding segment of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

"Yeah I remember being on the phone with my team, I was like, 'OK cool cool cool, so when is the qualifying?'" said White.

With skateboarding being one of five new sports added to next year's Olympics, not all of White's fellow skaters were as excited as he was. Reason being that the sport has always had a "rebel vibe" — something that some say doesn't quite fit the image of the Olympics.

"I just remember the same exact thing happened in snowboarding. There were a lot of people that were for it, and a lot of people against it," White said.

He added that he thinks the Olympics helped in making snowboarding more legitimate in the eyes of the world, and he sees how the same thing can happen with skateboarding.

The chairman of the board has won skateboarding gold at two X-Games but his first Olympic tuneup was a completely different type of skating. In his first competition in France he said he got annihilated, saying the loss opened his eyes.

"I didn't get the outcome I wanted, and you think I would be discouraged by that but I'm not," White said. "I'm actually the opposite — I'm going to enter a contest, it's a World Cup contest down in Brazil, and then I don't know, usually competitions sort of just spark that fire to compete. So we'll see what happens after that."

Many of his fans believe that if anyone can win in the skateboarding Olympics, it can be White. And although he hasn't decided how he will pursue America's first Olympic skateboard team, one thing is for sure: Don't count him out.

"Make it or not, I'm so happy that it's made it into the Olympics. Skateboarding is going to be an amazing addition," said White.

White will need a strong performance at the world championships in September in order to have a shot at making the Tokyo Olympics. But whether he makes the skateboard team or not, he thinks the competitive juices in him might just push him to go for a fourth snowboarding gold in 2022.

"I'm definitely at this tipping point so stay tuned. The next couple months it should get exciting," he said. 

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