Road to Sochi: Team Oakley Athlete of the Week – Shaun White

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As many regions brace for the coming of winter, a handful of the world’s elite athletes prepare to compete on sports’ most prestigious global stage. The 2014 Winter Olympics are upon us and the remote region of Sochi, Russia is set to host the twenty-second edition of the biggest winter sporting event in the world. As the days until the Open Ceremony count down, we invite you to get to know some of the most passionate, fearless, determined and awe inspiring athletes, some of whom you will undoubtedly see on the podium come February. Each of these athletes strive to compete in Sochi as representatives of their home nations, but are bound together, despite national boundaries, as members of another exclusive team: #TeamOakley.

This week’s Team Oakley Athlete of the week is an American snowboarder who really needs no introduction: Shaun White. What Shaun has done for the sport of snowboarding transcends accolades and video parts and sponsorships. He has almost single-handedly raised the exposure of the sport to a new stratosphere based solely on his riding and on having performed at the highest level for well over a decade. The “Flying Tomato” moniker is gone, so too are the signature flowing red locks. What remains is the talent and the expectation. People aren’t surprised as much as he wins as when he doesn’t, and the latter doesn’t happen often. As we look toward Sochi, his focus is on both Halfpipe and Slopestyle. Whether he’ll compete in both is yet to be determined, but what is certain is we’ll enjoy watching the journey.

We ran a few questions by Shaun to see where his head is as the Olympics approach.

What would it mean to you to be an Olympian, representing your country this winter in Sochi?
Gitchi, gitchi, ya-ya, da-da! #ladymarmalade

At what point did you set your sights on becoming an Olympian? When did you realize that goal was realistic?
Well, in 1998 snowboarding became an Winter Olympic sport, soooooooo I was 12 when I first realized that it could be a possibility for me. Since I was younger than that, I always watched the Summer Games on TV with my family and thought it was amazing.

What is your favorite Olympic moment (personal or historic)?

When my coach, Bud Keene, said f*ck on international television…

Snowboarding, on a global scale, has come a long way in the time since you’ve come on the scene. What does the addition of yet another snowboarding discipline (slopestyle) to the Olympic schedule say about the sport?

Whelp, it’s clear it means that the people have spoken… and they want more of the… the White daddy, Mr. Beef himself! You gotta give the people what they want… and they want it all! It means that the sport is growing in popularity in the main stream and it’s something people want to watch.

You’ve won pretty much everything there is to win in snowboarding (including Olympic medals), what motivates/drives you at this stage of your career?

To see how far I can push things.

For more on Shaun White, check out his Oakley bio.