Earlier this week Shaun White posted a mini documentary entitled 'Russia Calling,' available to watch above. Over the course of 45 minutes you can see a run down of the last year or so, paid for and produced by El Blanco himself, so watching it we can see pretty much how he would like the world to view him and his antics.
It features footage from his last few Olympic qualifiers, his YOLO-flipping from down under plus a triple cork attempt in the pipe, to our knowledge a solid never-been-done. Unfortunately it didn't go to well for him, but he wasn't too far off from landing it and by the sounds of it he could try and unleash it in Sochi, pretty much guaranteeing himself the win if he gets it.
There is also plenty of footage of Mr White taking a variety of ice baths, receiving physio and getting coached by what appears to be a robot programmed to say 'It's up to you man' every 30 seconds, all accompanied by cheesy voice overs and captions. It's shot in the now familiar RED-Camera ultra HD slo mo, used to good effect but ultimately making it feel a bit dragged out over the 45 minute run time (in fact a fellow viewer suggested I write this review in slow motion too).
Riding wise it's a good reminder of how talented White is; he goes so huge in the pipe, is never far off the pace when it comes to competition and can take an absolute beating in the process. Aside from the triple attempt though, there isn't much riding footage we haven't seen before; what makes this an interesting watch is the behind the scenes focus.
Its sad to see someone so talented having such an obviously difficult time enjoying himself doing the thing we all love the best.
Even though he was in charge of the film, he doesn't come off too well and appears to not even be that excited by riding anymore. In fact he only clocks in around 60 days on the hill in a year, minimal by professional standards. Snowboarding now appears to be nothing but a job for Mr White, a slog at the office, and one he's pretty sick of by the looks of it.
Which is a shame; he is unarguably one of the most accomplished riders in the world, but he now comes over as so far removed from what most would say is the core value of our sport: fun. Riding alone and focusing purely on one competition every four years can't be good for morale, and being that its unlikely he'll compete in another Olympic games again, a failure to win in Sochi looks likely to crush him.
Here at Whitelines we have been known to poke the occasional bit of fun at Shaun, but after watching Russia Calling the abiding feeling I got was one of sympathy for the guy. It's sad to see someone so talented having such an obviously difficult time enjoying himself doing the thing we all love the best. After all, being a top level pro is pretty high on most snowboarders' list of dream jobs.
In fact the highlight of the film is seeing him play with his band, Bad Things. When he gets as stoked on music as he used to for riding years ago, it's a genuine pleasure to watch. Also, it's probably a good thing for him to find out that you don't have to 'win' at everything.
So here's us wishing him the best for Sochi; regardless of where he finishes, with any luck he'll once again realise how much fun sliding sideways can be. If you agree show your support with our brand new Olympic hashtag, #SaveShaunsStoke! And watch the film above; it's worth it.