The Sochi Games are more than 200 days away, but Shaun White is already consumed with the Olympics — even in his dreams.
The two-time reigning snowboard halfpipe gold medalist talked about his preparation with TODAY on Wednesday morning.
“Everything around my life right now is focused on the Olympics,” White said. “It’s a really good feeling that it’s coming up. I think I’m prepared.”
White will have to work twice as hard at his third Olympics. He’s expected to not only try to defend his halfipe crown but also go for gold in a new event, snowboard slopestyle. Let White describe it.
“It’s basically a series of jumps in one run and some rail features that you slide on,” he said. “And you make your way down and you basically do as many tricks as you can on those jumps. It’s like, you know, the new thing.”
White finished fifth in slopestyle at this year’s Winter X Games. The winner was Canadian Mark McMorris, 19, profiled in a January Rolling Stone article titled, “Is Mark McMorris the next Shaun White?” White was 19 when he won his first Olympic gold in 2006.
TODAY asked White if was one of the favorites for slopestyle gold in Sochi.
“I’m all right at it, yeah,” he said, humbly.
White was on the New York set with his new, clean-cut hairstyle. White said his previous flying tomato locks were 12 to 13 inches long. He had them cut in December for Locks of Love charity, which provides wigs for children with hair loss due to medical conditions.
“It was a tough call, but it was a good cause,” he said. “A lot of weight (gone). I can go higher now in the halfpipe.”
White also talked about how he comes up with new gravity-defying tricks.
“It’s basically tricks that are based off of other tricks,” he said. “I recently was dreaming about snowboarding. I thought of this new rotation to put on an existing trick that I already have. It’s random, mostly by mistake I’d say. You’re setting out to do something and by accident you create a new trick.”
So White’s even got the Games on his mind while he sleeps. Is he feeling the pressure?
“A little bit, yeah, but I like that,” he said. “It’s something to strive for, to live up to.”