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Monday, July 18, 2011

Is Shaun White really the best Action Sport Athlete?

Shaun White on one rare occurence at Venice, on the small bowl... Photo Ray Rae

I was shocked when I heard that Shaun White won the Best Male Action Sports Athlete award at the Annual EPSY Awards last week. Not to belittle Shaun’s value but there are a couple of things that really make me scratch my head in this award…

If you take skateboarding alone, Shaun White has not participated at any Street event last year, and has probably never participated at any Street event, ever, period. OK, he is not a street skater. OK. OK, I got it. So, the fans say he is a real ramp champ. OK, he is certainly an awesome vert skater, but how many vert contests did he do last year? How about his participation at the bowl events? Shaun has not participated at any of the 20+ bowl contests last year. What bowls or skateparks is he riding? Six months ago, Ray Rae (go read Ray Rae interview) come to me all excited because he shoot 3 pictures of Shaun White at Venice skatepark. Ray Rae has been spending all his days at Venice since it opened in 2009. He has posted on his website ( some of the hundreds of thousands pix from Hosoi, Harada, Josh Borden, Daniel Cuervo, Asher Bradshaw, Clay Kreiner, Chris Russell, Cory Juneau, Juan Pineirio, Morgan Wolf, Kiko Franciso, Austin Poynter and three pictures from Shaun White. Duh? When was the last time you have seen pictures from Shaun at the Combi or at LCSP? On the internet, you see more recent pictures of retired Tony Hawk than award winner Shaun White.

Since the ESPY Best Male Action Sports Athlete Award is supposed to go to a person who has achieved action sports excellence within the past year, I would like to know what were the contests Shaun entered and won last year to be the best Action Sport Athlete of 2010? For a guy that’s supposedly better than anyone at skate and snowboard combined, he did not even participate at the last Ultimate Boarder. And if he participated, he is not listed in the official top 40. So, the fans say that he won the gold at the Winter Olympics, was 1st at the Dew Tour Wendy's Invitational, 1st again at the Vert Championships, and silver at the summer X Games Vert. You see, out of 40+ vert and bowl contests last year, winning 3 is not an achievement, even though, granted, he is good at skateboarding… Why is Shaun not participating at more bowl and vert contests is puzzling. On top of that, if you look closely behind the award reasoning, one of the first flaws is that the achievements White was recognized for, like winning at the X Games in multiple disciplines, technically occurred outside the timeline; a fact obviously overlooked by his fans.

Even ESPN who awarded him the recompense have published a kind of denial on their website saying that: “There is no denying White's impact on snowboarding, skateboarding and action sports as a whole. He's been sponsored since he was seven, and has handily won almost every competition and subsequent award that matters at least once, if not multiple times. Last year's Best Male U.S. Olympic Athlete and Best Male Action Sports Athlete ESPYs were well earned. It's impossible, really, to emphasize enough just how bad the halfpipe was at the 2010 Olympics, and how White's ability to perform at such a high level in the thing crushed any doubt that anyone might have ever had about him being the best pipe rider in the world. His run was devastatingly good.”

Hopefully Shaun will be able to win the XGames 2011. That will be his first real skateboard contest of the year.

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posted by Xavier Lannes @ Monday, July 18, 2011 

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your argument is absolutely legit. Not to take anything away from White's accomplishments but Best Action Sports Athlete ESPY - again? His getting the most votes is more a result of notariety, visibility and yes, a degree of skill.
I pondered the same things: what contests has he done this year other than the ones you covered, the ones I could only come up with, too. I can fire off a pretty extensive list of alternative choices of athletes that have visibility, notariety and also mad skills and pretty long resumes of contests, video, and charity involvement, to boot. Keep up the gr8 work; your observations are right on.

July 19, 2011 at 10:54 AM  
Anonymous Chris Eggers said...

X Games is not a contest, it is a show for TV and money.

July 21, 2011 at 2:45 AM  

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