Endearingly referred to as the “Flying Tomato” Shaun White is undoubtedly one of the most influential snowboarders of all time. But there’s probably a lot you don’t known about him. For starters, how old was Shaun White in his first Olympics?
Shaun White was just 19 years old when he competed in his very first Winter Olympics in 2006. He came away with a gold medal in the half-pipe, marking the beginning of his illustrious professional career.
That’s the quick answer! Keep reading to learn more about this mysterious snowboarding wizard…
Who Is Shaun White?
Before we jump any further into this guide, it’s probably a good idea to give you a bit of background. I had sort of assumed that every snowboarder knew of Shaun – but some of the younger generation might have missed out. So who is the infamous Shaun White?
Shaun White is a very well known former professional snowboarder who also went pro as a skateboarder for some time. At the time of writing this, Shaun White currently holds the world record for the most X games gold medals as well as the most Olympic gold medals won by a snowboarder.
Not only that, Shaun also received 10 ESPY Awards throughout his career and featured in dozens of high-profile snowboard films. Pretty epic right?
Shaun retired from his career as a competitive snowboarder at the end of the 2022 Winter Olympics. He finished with a fourth-place finish in the halfpipe, marking the end of an impressive 16-years in the Olympics.
What Age Did Shaun White Start Snowboarding?
Shaun White got his start in snowboarding after following in the steps of his older brother (Jesse White, who also happens to be a snowboarding prodigy). He consequently made the switch from skateboarding to snowboarding at the age of 6.
Demonstrating a natural talent, White received his very first sponsorship one year later at the age of 7. From there his attentions turned to the competition scene. The rest… is history.
What Is Shaun White’s Medal Count?
At the time of writing, White has a medal count of 18 (made up of 13 gold medals, 3 silver medals and 2 bronze medals). This includes his X Games and Winter Olympics wins.
His Olympic medal count is 3 – all golds – all in the halfpipe.
He also obtained the very first quadruple gold win streak – dominating the X-games superpipe four years in a row!
How Old Was Shaun White In His First Olympics?
So, now that you have a better understanding of who Shaun White is, let’s discuss his first Winter Olympics.
As we now know, Shaun White was just 19 years old when sitting atop the Olympic halfpipe for the very first time. The even more insane part is that he came away with a gold medal! Crazy right?
At aged 19, I was probably just chilling with my friends drinking beer (sorry Mum).
However, Shaun’s first Olympics weren’t all smooth sailing.
During the qualification rounds, White was very nearly knocked out of the competition having scored only 37.7 during his first qualification attempt (check out the halfpipe rules to see how it’s scored).
During his second attempt of the qualification rounds, White received a much better score of 45.3. This fortunately allowed him to scrape through and make Olympic history in the finals (scoring 46.8).
This score is also extremely impressive given the fact that the most that a snowboarder can score is 50 (now 100). Danny Kass (the snowboarder who took silver) received a more modest score of 44.0.
Shaun's Olympic Journey Continued...
From that point on, White went on to compete in an additional 4 Winter Olympics. Let’s take a look:
- During the 2010 Winter Olympics, White also won gold in the halfpipe, and received a score of 46.8 during his first run – enough to secure the gold medal without the need for a second attempt. (He did so anyway, and received the even higher score of 48.4!)
- In the 2014 Winter Olympics, White came fourth and was the most talked about person on Facebook for a reasonable period of time.
- In 2018, despite an injury during the games, White came away with a gold medal.
- 2022 was the last year that White competed in the Winter Olympics, sadly only coming in fourth.
Fun fact: It was during White’s first Winter Olympics that he was dubbed the “flying tomato”. The name represented his flowing red hair whilst soaring high out of the halfpipe. It’s an endearing nickname that has certainly stuck over the years. Another fun fact – he hates it!
There we have it! You’ve made it!
Hopefully I answered your question and gave you a couple of minutes of entertainment. If so, why not take a look around the rest of the site – there’s plenty more where that came from.
Thanks for reading, and goodbye for now!
P.S. I’ll leave you with this old-school Shaun White Bio. Really offers some insight into the man behind the hair.