Just about fifteen years ago, snowboarding wasn't considered a "sport."
Snowboarding was something that wood-pushers did in the cold winter while their parks were frozen over. The 1990's were a decade, more so than the 80's, that saw these "alternative" sports mount ultra popularity.
Fast forward to 2010, snowboarding is a billion dollar industry and the face of the lifestyle is a 23-year-old American named Shaun "The Flying Tomato" White.
White has almost single handedly took a recreational activity and made it a bona fide, respected trade. He has his own clothing line, equipment brands, and he's one of the world's most recognizable athletes. Don't forget White's salesman skills, he's one heck of a pitch-man, too.
There are hundreds of world-class athletes in Vancouver for the next two weeks that will put their skills on display for the world to watch. White could quite possibly be the best overall athlete in that bunch.
The Flying Tomato defies gravity on every breath, floating, rather flying nearly two stories above the icey super pipes that he calls home.
White has owned ESPN's X-Games for a decade, he's collected 15 gold medals in snowboarding and one in skateboarding. If skateboarding ever makes its way to the Olympics, you can be sure that White will be donning the red, white, and blue while he skies on the halfpipe.
Winter Dew Tours and Grand Prix's of snowboarding are events that the young American has dominated in the past, but he shines brightest on the biggest stage of all—the Winter Olympics.
White's greatest accomplishment of all was his one gold medal he garnished in the 2006 Torino games' mens halfpipe competition. With his Michael Jordan-esque nature, be sure that there's only one thing on his mind—bringing home another gold medal to the U.S.A.
There's no question that White is again favored to win the halfpipe event in Vancouver. The run is at Whistler, one he is familiar with due to his Winter X-Games experience.
White's private training is second to none, he has his own super-pipe in the middle of Colorado's avalanche country. He flies by helicopter to begin his daily regiment, making sure he's head and shoulders above his competitors. The Whistler run should be a cake-walk compared to the monster work out facility that he recently built for himself.
If there's one American Olympic athlete that will surely blow his/her rivals out of the water, or air in this case, it's Shaun White.
The white of the snow, the blue of the ice, and the flaming red of White's hair, it's in the cards already, he'll win gold in Vancouver.