Shaun White Pulls Back the Curtain

Unlikely motivation

In 2017, disaster struck when White misjudged a trick while training for the Olympics in New Zealand. He was coming out of a double backflip when his board clipped the top of the half-pipe. His body buckled, and his head hit the wall’s upper edge, then he fell more than 22 feet. “My lip was busted open, and my nose split through the stem; I cut through my forehead and bit through my tongue,” says White.

At a crossroads, White’s relied on introspective reflection to guide him through the difficult time. “That was a defining moment in my life [because] my heart was saying that this happened for a reason. I needed to make a firm decision,” says White. “I decided to push forward [which] cleared [any] doubt I had going into that Olympic run,” he adds. Four months after undergoing several surgeries and receiving 62 stitches, snowboarding’s most prominent star not only competed in the Games. He took home gold.

Pulling back the curtain

The public has long been fascinated with extraordinary people, and documentaries give them an inside look at what life is like for these individuals. The award-winning docuseries The Last Dance tells the story of basketball great Michael Jordan. The creative team behind it worked hard to approach his story honestly and objectively, even when that meant showing the retired NBA superstar in a less-than-flattering light.

Like many great athletes, White has lived an extraordinary life. That’s why those behind The Last Dance are producing a documentary about him. Soon, we’ll get an inside look at his career and find out what he thought and felt during the highs and lows. “My life story isn’t something I’ve told [before], but I want to pull the curtain back…because it’s not what you’d [expect],” says White.

Whether following his dreams at 6 or coming back from an accident at 31, White understands that success is about taking risks and managing fear. “I feel like everything I’ve done has [been] a calculated risk,” says White. “Fear is something I’ve learned to manage,” he adds. While snowboarding certainly involves risk, the vulnerability required to share your story with the world is far riskier. Then again, if the lesser risk led to Olympic gold, imagine what the other brings.

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