White hungry for more gold in Sochi

Fri Jan 24, 2014 12:53pm EST
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By Julian Linden

(Reuters) - Shaun White is already one of the most successful and recognizable names in Winter sports, a snowboarding rockstar just living the American dream.

The Californian was one of the stars of the last two Winter Olympics, winning back-to-back gold medals in the men's halfpipe with his gravity-defying aerial stunts.

And he seems destined to be one of the headline acts at next month's Sochi Olympics despite starting all over again with a new look, a new event and a bagful of new tricks.

"This will be my third Olympics so I know the drill about what goes on," he said. "But every single time around it's different. That's what's so exciting."

White has reinvented himself for Sochi to pursue a challenge that is a reflection of how quickly times have changed for him.

When he won his first gold medal at Turin in 2006, he was a wide-eyed teenager who had made the transition from extreme skateboarding to snow and ice.

Four years later, in Vancouver, he was the coolest cat on the mountain, winning gold in baggy denim jeans with all the fearlessness and unwavering self-belief of an athlete at the peak of his powers.

But Sochi will see a more mature version of White.   Continued...

Snowboarder and Winter Olympic gold medallist Shaun White poses for a portrait in New York in this file photo from August 20, 2012. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/Files