Backstage With: Olympic Gold Medalist Shaun White!
The Olympic Games hold a special place in my heart. My very first job out of college was in the broadcast center for the 1996 Games in Atlanta. It was such an amazing, life-changing experience. So, when I found out snowboarder Shaun White was going to be in the studio for our Friday's Live show I jumped at the chance to chat with him backstage about his workout and eating routines.
Stephanie Snipes: So, tell me a little bit about your training routine.
Shaun White: I wish I could say it was really intense training but it's a lot of mental preparation. A lot of my sport has to do with mentally being ready to do these tricks and convincing yourself its okay. It's a confidence thing. I do a lot on the bicycle. It's more of a maintenance thing cause you're trying to prevent injuries. Everything I do has to do with balance. So, I never really lift weights or anything like that but if I did, I would be standing on the ball while doing it. Or, I'd be on my knees on a ball. The bosu balls, the half balls, those kind of things. It's all balance and you're center of gravity being strong and centered.
SS: How do you psych yourself up to ignore the fear and just fly on your board.
SW: I don't know. I've just kind of had that since I was younger. I was so convinced I had it in me. It's a confidence thing. Being at the top of the half pipe, I don't know, everything kind of changes and I just go and kind of think about it after.
SS: Sometimes that's the way to do it, right? You've just got to take a risk.
SW: (Laughs) Yeah, it's more of a doing thing instead of thinking about it. A lot of the times I'm in the half pipe and I just feel my way through the run and it's the best performance I'm going to give.
SS: What advice would you have for people who are afraid to take risks in life.
SW: I swear, and it sounds so simple, or maybe big, but I always think any step toward your goal is the right step --even if it's the smallest thing. … I had a hard time because our sport is very lose and everyone wants to party and have fun and I'm trying to win the Olympics, you know what I mean? So, I would draw x's on my hand to remind me not to drink or to do anything. And, I would be conscious of what I was doing. It was a big step for me to have that focus and stay healthy and do the whole Games and everything. I think any step toward what you want to do is the right way to go. As long as you're true to yourself you're going to be fine.
SS: Do you have a special food regimen? And, if you tell me it's all burgers and fries I might cry.
SW: I'm a pretty good eater. Obviously, travelling around since I was 10 or 11 I've gotten used to eating wherever I'm at. If you're a picky eater and you travel around the world you're going to be in for some trouble. I mean, I splurge. I love Chinese food. I can't stay away. And, the greasier the better, you know what I mean? Like the weird restaurants. The wok garden. It's not even Panda Express it's like some strange [place]. Anything with a wok and I'm there. I can't handle myself around it.
SS: Tell us about your work with Target House.
SW: I actually had a heart condition when I was younger. Target House is a long term care facility for children suffering from different things and basically where they can go and stay with their family and have a normal life while this is going on. Because it's so unfair to, not rob children of their childhood, but to put them through such an adult thing at such a young age. I actually stayed at a similar house like this. My parents were living with me at this house while I was going through operations on my heart. What a cool way to circle back. I actually donated money to redo their whole living room. So, I designed it. There's coffee tables made out of broken skateboards, and there's Guitar Hero and my video game is there. You know, it's unreal. It's full on designed to the tee. There's spray painted stencils on the wall and a bunch of personal effects of mine from trophies to random tables I've picked out. … We made my room the best room, obviously so that everybody wants to hang out there. It was cool. It was such a touching thing and I just felt honored to be a part of it and do something like that.
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