Shaun White’s trophy cabinet must be splitting at the seams. Two Olympic gold medals, 14 X Games wins, 6 dew tour gold medals and 8 US open first place podiums, not to mention a smattering of silvers and bronzes, makes this man the most successful competitive snowboarder ever. Success on this level (helped in part by his similar record in vert skating) has also made him a bona-fide A-List celebrity – the sort that gets to party with P Diddy, hang out at Elton John’s house, or hook up with Leonardo di Caprio’s ex. As such, he has a knack for nicking headlines so chances are you’d be watching him whether you read this list or not.
This year Shaun has got his eyes set on not one, but two Olympic gold medals – he’s aiming to get the gold in both pipe and slopestyle in Sochi. Given his X-games six-peat you’d think his pipe game was untouchable, after opting out of Euro X games in Tignes, and with the likes of Ayumu Hirano and iPod nipping at his heels, you do wonder whether he’s opened the window for trophy thieves…
In slopestyle, things are a little more complicated. He won it in Tignes last year, but his outings in the previous two US X Games have been far less impressive. However, Shaun’s competitive streak is legendary and we’re betting he’ll be working his ass off to make sure he’s got what it takes to beat the likes of Mark McMorris and Torstein Horgmo.
This ultra-competitive approach has not always made Shaun the most popular rider, and everyone loves to give their two cents on Mr White. But say what you like, you can’t argue with his performance, and if you’re after a podium spot this year, he’s not gonna make it easy for you. Love him or hate him, whether or not he succeeds in grabbing two golds in Sochi, his attempt is sure to be the big snowboarding story of the year, especially where mainstream media are concerned. We’ll enjoy watching it too, and it’s for that reason that he tops our list.