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“He Was Blowing Up” Despite Undergoing Two Open-Heart Surgeries as an Infant, Tony Hawk’s Valuable Life Lessons Put Shaun White on the Path of Greatness

Published 11/24/2022, 1:15 PM EST

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Shaun White established his name in snowboarding after winning three medals at Summer Olympics. This success hasn’t been easy for him. After receiving the diagnosis of Tetralogy of Fallot, Shaun underwent two heart surgeries. In an interview with Graham Bensinger, Shaun spoke openly about his heart surgeries.

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These surgeries did not deter him from trying to achieve his dreams. When Shaun was 8 years old, seeing Tony skate in the same skate park motivated Shaun. The snowboarding legend then began to practice skating and word of his talent soon spread. In an AMA session, Shaun spoke candidly about what he learned from Tony Hawk 

Shaun White’s Candid views on Tony Hawk 


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Shaun told an incident where Tony said that Shaun should be himself instead of trying to be the next Tony Hawk. He also narrated how he learned from Tony how to stay the same person despite the success, media pressure, and fame. 

In another talk, Shaun opened up about how Tony trained him for seven years. “He was blowing up…and to see how he interacted with fans and balance his life…”, Shaun recalled. This reflects how Tony set an example for Shaun to balance his life and career. Further continuing, Shaun expressed how being near Tony during that time was really good for him. 


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Another aspect that Shaun also disclosed was how Tony took him under his wing and made him observe a lot about the sport. The snowboarding legend also revealed how Tony Hawk would take him on tours so that he could watch and learn. 


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Shaun also revealed that in the beginning, he was terrified of approaching Tony Hawk. Later, after Tony saw his talent, he gave him the invitation to see a skating demo. Continuing, Shaun mentioned that this led to a friendship between them and how Tony was the perfect person. 

Latest News Update on Shaun White 

Recently, Shaun received the Golden Goat award at the Gold medal Gala. Currently, he is focusing on actively promoting his brand Whitespace. 


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Watch Now: Shaun White and Nina Dobrey Shares Happy Moments From a Friend’s Wedding 

Shaun White’s journey proves that achieving success comes at a huge cost. Tony Hawk’s role in Shaun White’s success shows how sports can forge unforgettable bonds. As sports fans, we look forward to seeing Shaun and Tony achieving more laurels in the future. 

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Written by:

Priya Hinduja


One take at a time

Priya Hinduja is a US Sports author for EssentiallySports. Post pursuing her Master's Degree in English, she worked as an English language trainer at Osmos Club and also dabbled with marketing at Debugee Technologies Pvt Ltd for a year. With a keen interest in playing chess and badminton in her leisure time, she also follows the activities of Michael Phelps, whose story motivates and inspires her.
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Edited by:

Pritam Priyedarshi