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Shaun White: I Was Mistaken for a Lady!

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I recently sat down with action sports superstar Shaun White. The interview is for a new episode of In Depth. The two-time Olympic gold medalist shares the personal significance of becoming an Olympic champion and the challenges of being a two-sport athlete. White offers insight into his mindset during the acrobatic tricks. The 25-year-old also reflects on his rise from a blue-collar upbringing, his burgeoning business empire and, of course, his signature red hair.

Highlights:

Shaun White admits to having lost his Olympic gold medals: "maybe three or four times." One time, after asking his mother for his medal, "And she says, 'Oh, I took it to the dry cleaner.' ... And she didn't think this was absurd at all and then we show up ... it's like the hanger with the medal and the plastic. ... The only part that she was upset with is that it was a little over five dollars." Watch clip:

Shaun White reveals he has been mistaken for a woman: "I was in the bathroom at the airport and you know 'cause I wear like skinnier fitting jeans and I'm in the bathroom and I'm like washing my hands at the sink and this guy comes in behind, this older gentleman. And he's just the horror in his face, you know he's like, 'Oh my - I am so sorry ma'am. I'm so sorry.'" Watch clip:

Shaun White explains what he has in common with Tiger Woods: "I was in some country and I couldn't sleep. I turned the TV on and I was watching, it was like a charity event with Tiger Woods. And something that he did really struck me because I understood exactly what he was doing...He was describing to this audience about how when he steps up to the tee he has a system of things he does." White goes on: "I know exactly what I wanna do when I get there so when I show up it usually happens before. Like I really don't, I don't really say much before the event, I'm extremely mellow. You'd be like, 'Are you ready dude? Gonna get pumped up?'" Watch clip:

Shaun White tells about shooting a movie with Justin Timberlake, Mila Kunis, and Woody Harrelson: "When you're on the movie set, it's silent 'cause they need a sound quality. It's the most uncomfortable scenario." Watch clip:


Shaun White shares that he would have quit snowboarding, if not for skateboarding: "I can honestly say that if it wasn't for skateboarding I would not be snowboarding still. I would have quit a while ago I think." Watch clip:

Shaun White believes skateboarding will be in the Olympics: "The sport's heading that way. It's definitely got the popularity and it's got that respect as an actual sport." White also discusses retirement: "Next Olympics in Sochi I'll be 27 and so I think I'd like to assume I have at least one more in me after that." Watch clip:


Shaun White says winning gold in snowboarding at the 2006 Olympics was the defining moment in his career: "I just remember seeing my parents' faces, you know and everyone's crying. ... And they're just in tears and it just dawned on me what had really happened, what I had really done, what I had accomplished you know? ... My mom came up to me. She's like, 'Forever you'll be known. You can't be introduced without being introduced as Shaun White the gold medalist.'" White discusses walking through Los Angeles International Airport after winning Olympic Gold: "It's like when the main character of the movie has that pivotal moment and everybody just slow claps. I'm walking through the terminal and the whole place just explodes with applause. You know and I'm standing there, I was like just trying to find my gate or whatever and everyone's clapping." Watch clip:

Shaun White discusses the open heart surgeries that almost killed him as a child and the impact that has on him today: "I had a couple open heart surgeries when I was just a baby... I have leads for a pacemaker which is interesting because in my sport there's bumps and bruises and there's concerns but I can't get MRI's because it's a very magnetic and electrical current that's going out." Watch clip:


Shaun White, whose mom was a waitress and his father worked for the city, reflects on growing up in a blue-collar family who sacrificed so much so that he could train in the expensive sport of snowboarding: "I still remember being a little kid and camping out with my family in a motor home 'cause we couldn't afford to live at the resort." White goes on: "When I turn down like some massive deal I'm like wow, I never in my dreams would've imagined I would be just pushing this massive offer aside." Watch clip:


Shaun White reveals that sometimes the best way for him to have success is to get away from the sport: "I think lately what's exciting is that the more time I spend away from the sport the more I wanna go back to it. ... If you're going into some crazy trick or something that's really intimidating and you don't have like your full heart and motivation into it, it's a bad scenario." Watch clip:

Shaun White recalls travelling to events while living out of their van they dubbed Big Mo and bathing at rest stops. Said White: "We would fill up these jugs of water, you know the gallons of milk and so you'd have two of them and you would do the one, get wet, soap up and then do the second one." Watch clip:

Graham Bensinger's Facebook page is facebook.com/GrahamBensinger and his website is GrahamBensinger.com. Follow Graham on Twitter @GrahamBensinger. Email Graham at Graham@TheGBShow.com.

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