The Flying Tomato Would Rather You Not Call Him That Anymore


I’m not someone that really follows snowboarding, but I know the name Shaun White. And I’m guessing that even if you don’t know his name, if you saw a photo… you’d recognize him as well. He’s a 27 year old professional snowboarder that’s won two Olympic gold medals, and won a ton of X-Games medals as well. He received his first sponsorship at the age of seven.

White has also been given the nickname “The Flying Tomato,” given his red hair… which I did not know. But apparently that’s a nickname that may not be sticking for much longer.

In her article The Flying Tomato Would Rather You Not Call Him That Anymore, writer Elizabeth Weil paints a very interesting portrait of White at a transitional point in his career. Moving more into the entrepreneurial realm, we find that White has cut his distinctively long hair short and has become more selective about his sponsors.

In addition to his current business endeavors, the article does a good job re-capping White’s rise to fame, and his early years as a skateboarder/snowboarder:

When White was 15, he flew to Sapporo for the Toyota Big Air contest. Some of the other riders gathered before the event to discuss dividing the purse – including the winner’s $50,000 and a Japanese car – regardless of how they placed. White refused to go along and won. The promoters gave him an extra $15,000 cash instead of the car. White kept the $65,000 for himself.

Even if you’re not into sports or snowboarding, I think you’d find this article an interesting, well-written read. White comes across as someone young and famous, slowly growing into his fame (and considerable income). He seems surprisingly savvy when it comes to how his own image is managed, and in reading the article… you can almost sense White at a distance, looking on in approval.

[photo by Finlay MacKay]

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