Shaun White doesn’t have “hobbies” as much as he has a list of things he will eventually dominate.
This list, however, may be becoming too long for his own good.
According to Liz Clarke and Cindy Boren of The Washington Post, the 27-year-old snowboarder announced on NBC that he has decided to drop out of the slopestyle competition to better prepare himself for the halfpipe.
White’s departure comes as a surprise to many but fits within the snowboarder’s competitive plan of attack. As he told Rolling Stone’s Dan Hyman in a 2013 interview, he prefers to tackle one thing at a time—music notwithstanding.
You may not know this about the two-time Olympic gold medalist, but in addition to his skateboarding and snowboarding endeavors, White has begun touring America in a synth-rock band.
White’s group, Bad Things, has played at a number of major music festivals, including Lollapalooza in Chicago. He understands that fans’ knee-jerk reaction is to label the group a “hobby band,” per Hyman's interview, but White and his fellow band members insist they’re dedicated to the craft.
“I drop everything for these guys,” White told Hyman. “[Photo] shoots, practice, anything I need to do. Because it’s a very serious thing for us.”
White began playing guitar after winning a snowboarding competition as a teenager. The grand prize was a yellow Fender Stratocaster—a showpiece trophy, but an operational guitar that kicked off his addiction to playing music.
Here’s “Anybody,” a song off Bad Things’ self-titled debut album.
Warning: Video contains NSFW language.
To be clear, White isn’t singing. He plays guitar while lead singer Davis LeDuke carries the majority of vocal duties.
LeDuke says he was uncertain about joining what appeared to be a lark venture by a famous snowboarder.
“People are like ‘Oh, [Shaun]’s just a snowboarder. It’s a hobby band,” LeDuke told Hyman. That isn’t the case, however.
“Not only does Shaun have musical input, he also lights that fire under our [expletive],” LeDuke said.
White maintains that his focus for music is wholehearted, and that he commits to it like he would a sport.
“I stop snowboarding and I completely dive into skating. I forget everything about snowboarding ... and I focus completely on skateboarding,” White said. “And that’s how its been for music.”
With this in mind, White’s recent decision to forgo slopestyle at the Sochi Olympics makes sense. Couple that attitude with a recent wrist injury and the allegedly rough conditions of the Sochi course, and there’s plenty of reasons for White to stick with his time-honored tradition of dominating one thing at a time.
Look for Sean to use his singular focus and come back with a medal in the halfpipe.
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