'Greatness Code' Episode 5: Shaun White says 'I don't care' attitude goes a long way to take the pressure off

The three-time Olympic medalist snowboarder talks about one of the most pivotal events that unfolded on the day on 'Greatness Code'


                            'Greatness Code' Episode 5: Shaun White says 'I don't care' attitude goes a long way to take the pressure off
Shaun White (Getty Images)
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Shaun White lives for big moments. However, he recalls January 13, 2018, vividly. The three-time Olympic medalist snowboarder talks about one of the most pivotal events that unfolded on the day on 'Greatness Code'. It was the day his Olympic qualifiers and White had a bland first run. The second run was perfect. It was just like he had visualized. Except, the final part of the run was a trick that he had heavily practiced, and he failed to pull that move off completely.

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Needless to say, it was devastating for White. "I had got one more round left," he said. "You know how long the chairlift ride is back up?" he said. And all through his ride back to the starting point, White was distraught and worried. "I had a hollow feeling inside," he admitted. "And I am complaining to my coach... I don't think I got it, I am so tired, my legs are giving out, that's when the pressure really started to be put on."

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"I got these visions of not making the team," he added. "I've always described these pressure situations as being completely focussed on what you are about to do, and having a slight bit of 'I don't care' because no matter what happens, you need that thing to sort of taking the pressure off." White readied himself for the last round and back in 2018, he was still the two-time Olympic gold medalist. 

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He recalled discussing the final run with his coach JJ Thomas, but there wasn't much time as the call came on. White just went with the flow. He had a lot to lose had this not panned out but it was all about embracing the pressure and raising the bar, and that he did by performing a combination of flips that stunned the judges and the audience. The end result? It was a perfect score of 100. 

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"Even when you don't succeed, you learn so much about yourself," he said. "As long as I hit the right stops along the way, I feel fulfilled and I feel like I am doing it my way, and I am so content with that."

'Greatness Code' is currently streaming on Apple TV+.