|ESPN.com: 2009||[Print without images]|
Forget that Shaun White goes down now as the greatest redheaded athlete of all time, double-corking past Rod Laver. (I have two redheaded sons. This means something in our house.)
Forget that he might be the most exciting American Winter Olympics athlete we'll ever see. Two Olympics, two golds and the two highest Olympic halfpipe scores in history.
Forget that he is the Joe Namath of his generation: the hair, the grin, the clothes, the fearlessness, the secret training ground, the millions, the helicopters, the Playmates, the golds.
Forget that he is the new Tiger Woods, a winner like few others in American sports history. He's the only superpipe back-to-back-to-back gold-medal winner in Winter X Games history. He's one of only four American men to ever repeat as a gold-medal winner in the Winter Games. Like Woods in the old days, it's only news now when he loses.
Forget that he's pushed the boundaries of his sport like nobody since Wayne Gretzky in hockey, inventing new tricks yearly to stay on top. And all at only 5-foot-8, tops, and surviving two heart surgeries before he was 1 year old.
Forget all that. But what should slap you straight across the cheek is that Shaun White won a gold in skateboard vert at Summer X in his spare time. He's the first (and only) athlete to win both a Summer and Winter Dew Cup, a lot of people's de facto world championship of skateboarding. He's the first male athlete to compete and medal in both Summer and Winter X.
Can you name me one single athlete who won world championships in TWO different sports? It'd be like Tom Brady winning a Super Bowl and a Rugby World Cup.
Which is why the IOC needs to get skateboarding into the Olympics right now. Shaun White could be the first athlete to win gold in the Summer and Winter Games since 1932. (American Eddie Eagan did it in boxing and bobsled that year.)