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“Wants Something Bigger and Better”- Shaun White’s Physical Therapist and Close Friend Reveals His ‘Never Satisfied’ Quality

Published 05/19/2022, 9:45 AM EDT

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It is a human tendency to yearn for more, even after attaining their goals. Economics states the unsated desire to long for more irrespective of one’s achievement as unlimited wants. One needs to keep unrealistic goals to up their game, especially when the person in question is a world-class athlete. However, it is still necessary to know where to draw the line. Shaun White learned it through the advice of a wise friend.

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People have high expectations from athletes with GOAT status. And to keep up with these expectations, they set goals that are difficult to achieve. And being the most decorated snowboarder does not make life any easier for White.


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Shaun’s discontented nature before Esther Lee’s advice

Therefore, athletes may lack satisfaction even after achieving big wins. In sports, this idea is inculcated very early on as one needs to keep improving their performances throughout their career.

Incorporating the values of sports in life may prove favorable in some aspects, but it may not always be the case. Aiming high is one thing, and overachieving is quite another. And overachievement is not necessarily a positive trait.


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It may leave one incapable of celebrating their achievements as they quickly move on to accomplishing higher goals. It may lend an upper hand to the athlete to achieve better performances in sports. However, life is not as linear as sporting events.

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Addressing this insatiable need to accomplish more in life during an interview, a long-time friend of White, Esther Lee said, “He always wants to improve and wants something bigger and better, which I get. That’s why he’s accomplished some amazing things. … But he was in this mentality where he was just never satisfied.”

Esther, a Doctor of Physical Therapy, got acquainted with the five-time Olympian after his assistant approached her to work with the athlete. It was right after White’s return from a disappointing performance at the Sochi Winter Olympics.

The two soon became close friends, partly due to her caring nature but also because she was a good friend who excelled in the philosophical perspective of life.

Lee’s impactful advice to Shaun White


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Lee noticed White remained unsatisfied, not only with performances but also in businesses and other aspects of life. One instance was when the athlete would not stop indulging in the prospect of buying a new estate while sitting in his Malibu beach house.

via Reuters

Lee imparted some enlightening advice to Shaun that day, one he follows even today. She said, “You have all these amazing things that you worked so hard for. Just enjoy the things that you have already.”


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That day Shaun realized what it meant to have goals as opposed to cravings. Sometimes, it is the most basic of advice that helps keep things on track. And Shaun White experienced this firsthand when he heeded the suggestion of his friend.

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Written by:

Aklanta Chetia


One take at a time

Aklanta Chetia Wanniang is a US Sports author for EssentiallySports. He has a Master's degree in Literature from the University of Delhi. With an interest in learning about multiple sports, Aklanta himself is a former sportsperson and has participated in state and national level swimming events.
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Edited by:

Simar Singh Wadhwa