Wow! So this is big, big news. Shaun White, arguably the most famous man in action sports, is apparently quitting snowboarding and skateboarding to concentrate on his musical career.
Yep, that’s right: The man who’s won two Olympic gold medals and more summer and winter X Games titles than you’ve had hot dinners is giving it all up. Why? To focus on being a rock star.
The image above appeared on his official Facebook page about half an hour ago. As messages go that’s pretty unequivocal isn’t it?
The decision might seem pretty crazy at first glance. After all “the artist formerly known as the Flying Tomato” has made his name and his fortune (an estimated US$20 million) off skating and snowboarding. But when you look closer, perhaps there is some reason in this madness.
The decision to quit might seem pretty crazy at first glance. But when you look closer, perhaps there is some reason in this madness.
As this piece by our sister site Whitelines points out, Shaun White hadn’t really been doing either sport much recently.
When he did drop in it was only to compete in the biggest contests rather than riding for fun. And since his second Olympic gold in Vancouver even that was happening less and less frequently.
Admittedly he poured a lot of time, effort and sponsors’ money (private halfpipes don’t come cheap!) into training for the Sochi 2014 Olympics. But having failed to get even one medal, much less the two golds he’d been hoping for, he’d have to have been super-human not to entertain the thought of hanging up his boots.
Meanwhile, the band he’d joined with some LA friends, The Bad Things, found themselves getting signed off the back of a couple of demos. Of course we’d never be so cynical as to suggest that their lead guitarist’s enviable public profile and readymade fanbase had anything to do with it. But to be honest even if it did, it’s kind of a moot point.
In recent interviews and TV appearances Shaun had made it fairly clear that he was enjoying his hobby more than his day job. And given that the music they make is radio-friendly (as well as eminently listenable) it’s actually no surprise that he came to see music as a viable alternative career.
Certainly his fans seem to be responding positively to the switch, if the comments underneath the post are anything to go by.
Though not all of them were convinced…
Some even lambasted his choice of font!
Personally, Mpora will always be a bit disappointed that someone with Shaun’s stature didn’t want to assume a role as an elder statesman of snowboarding a la Terje Haakonsen. But really, who are we to tell him what to do? If he’s enjoying himself (and he clearly is – more so than he was at the Olympics) then good luck to him.
You never know, this might just mark his retirement from competition. Maybe in a couple of years we’ll see him come back and do a Craig Kelly – putting out a powder part that would silence his critics. BUt even if he doesn’t, his achievements still stand, and it’s probably safe to say this won’t the last we’ve heard of Shaun Roger White…
What do you think? Does Shaun’s band have what it takes to make it big? Are you a fan? Or should he stick to the day job? Let us know in the comments below!