Thursday, February 6, 2014

Shaun White: Taking Snowboarding to New Heights

There is no better way to get excited for the 2014 Winter Olympics than to watch videos of one of the greatest snowboarders ever to compete. Shaun White has earned dozens of gold medals from some of the  biggest competitions in the world. In doing so, he has proved that he definitely knows how to use his body in a creative way. Want some proof of his creative ability? Watch this video of Shaun's winning performance at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics:

Here, Shaun unveiled a trick he dubbed the Double McTwist 1260. Until this moment, no one had ever dared to try such a challenging flip combination on the Olympic stage. Shaun is known for pushing the limits, however. He is great because he is not afraid to challenge himself, his peers, or the boundaries currently restricting the sport. He does not listen to doubters, people who place limits on his ability to change and progress professional snowboarding.
Shaun first entered the realm of professional snowboarding as a pre-teenager. While he perfected his art form, he had plenty of role models, especially the legendary professional snowboarder Danny Kass. Now, the roles have changed. The idolizer has transformed into the great Olympian that young riders strive to emulate. Some of these young fans make it to the next level and become Shaun’s competition.
Shaun’s creativity is fueled through his fear of losing. Staying ahead of his peers and challenging himself to perfect tricks before others even realize that such a trick is possible is the key to his success. In an interview with Snowboarder Magazine last month, Shaun said, “It is just a very simple thing for me to know my competitors. Whenever I am faced with obstacles I push forward. I have to take a little step back to go forward. I need to see where everyone is at in order to excel and get to that next place.”
In the same interview, Shaun shed some light on his inner creative process that culminated with the invention of the Double Mctwist 1260. To get his artistic juices flowing, Shaun said he needs to feel threatened. This feeling can come from watching a competitor nail a new trick, losing in an off-season event, or from feeling that his creativity has plateaued. Then, after he is sparked to act, Shaun calms himself by riding until he is able to visualize his next big move. Now, once he knows where he wants to take the sport, Shaun focuses on listening to his body and determining his capabilities. Then, he spends hundreds of hours practicing until muscle memory takes over. After enough practice, flips and twists begin to feel as natural as walking.
Shaun is known for being the first to land tricks that revolutionize the sport, but they are not revolutionary for long. His competitors are fast learners. Therefore, Shaun does not have the luxury of becoming stagnant. Luckily for him, though, he has a lot more creativity left to show the world. In fact, Shaun announced that he is eagerly waiting to unveil his newest trick in Sochi, a trick that will surely prove to be innovative and imaginative. Is Shaun White a “Big C” creative, a “Little c” creative, or somewhere in the middle? I’ll let you be the judge. One thing, however, is certain.  Millions of people will tune into the Sochi Olympics expecting to see greatness on the half pipe, and Shaun’s performance will certainly not disappoint.
Want to read more of Shaun White’s interview with Snowboarder Magazine? Check it out here:

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