Before Sochi … before Shaun White Enterprises … before the millions of dollars in endorsements … before the 10 ESPYs … before the 13 Winter X Games gold medals … before the two Winter Olympics gold medals … before the Flying Tomato, there was a 10-year-old, freckle-faced Shaun White doing amazing things in the halfpipe.
One of the first kids filmed by KidsWhoRip was a young Shaun White, who at the time was three years away from turning professional, nine years away from his first Olympic gold, and 17 years away from trying to become the first American man to win gold in the same event in three consecutive Winter Olympics.
This isn’t exactly what he’ll look like in the halfpipe at the Sochi Winter Olympics, but it certainly is amazing for a kid his age, and it shows the incredible early beginnings of his Olympic journey. Enjoy (action starts at 9-second mark):
Shaun White’s mother was responsible for turning him on to snowboarding, but not because she had the foresight of what was to come. White was a speed demon on skis and she wanted to slow him down.
“At the age of 4, Shaun proved to be fearless on his skis racing down the slopes with older brother Jesse,” White’s website says. “In an attempt to slow Shaun down when he was 6, his mom decided to put him on a snowboard and instructed him to copy everything Jesse did. Unfortunately for her, it only encouraged Shaun to go faster.”
By the end of his first day of snowboarding, White was already doing jumps and going faster than Jesse. A year later, he entered his first snowboarding contest and won. At age 8, White was jumping 5 feet higher than the rest of the kids, and soon after earned the nickname “Future Boy.”
By age 12, he was winning nearly every important amateur event he entered. Incidentally, that same year, 1998, marked the debut of snowboarding at the Winter Olympics, in Nagano, Japan.
A year later, a 13-year-old White turned professional and never looked back.
There is also video of White as an 11-year-old, but the following video of White as a 13-year-old features him talking about snowboarding and his career, and is no less impressive (cute, too):
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