Flying Red Tomato triumphant

I was thrilled to watch Shaun White win his first gold medal in the half-pipe at the age of 19 last night. That kid can sure get up in the air and perform some amazing acrobatics. Thanks to having been in endorsement deals since he was 13, and of course being the best in his sport (and damn near that level at skateboarding, too), he's already a millionaire. However, I like him best of all because of his attitude, which reminds me of a friend from college. Often described as a free spirit or laid back, Shaun brings an infectious relaxed and down-to-earth personality to center stage. What's more, he's pretty damn witty. His responses to some of the interview questions on NBC's site had me openly chuckling at work today:
    On how the world's greatest skateboarder, Tony Hawk, is always accessible whenever White phones: "Actually, he's just all, 'Shaun, why are you calling me? It's three in the morning. Go to bed.'"

    On the difference between the 15 year-old Shaun White who failed to qualify for the Olympics by three-tenths of a point and the present-day Shaun White, who is 5-foot-8, 140 pounds and is commonly mistaken for Carrot Top: "I think that the biggest difference from when I was 15 to now is, I just, I didn't have ... these chiseled features that you see now. ... I'm a lot older. And let's face it, much better-looking."

    On purchasing an expensive car before he had a driver's license: "We walk into the Lexus dealership. And I'm, like …wearing my skate clothes. Like, I probably have my skateboard with me. They're like, 'What is this guy thinking?' And I went to go do my first test drive. I didn't have my license yet. I had like a paper license. Because I had just got it at the DMV. And so I was like, 'Hey, can I test-drive it?' And they're like, the first three guys said, 'No.' And then they're like, 'Well, maybe Dan will take him out'. And Dan's, like, just got finished drinking in the back."

    On being able to hob-nob with celebrities: "The funniest part is you end up seeing someone and you always want to call them their names from the movies that you've seen them in. Like, what's the guy who's on 'ER' (Anthony Edwards)? And I ... I called him 'Goose' when I saw him. From Maverick. Or Top Gun. I was like, 'I thought you died. What happened?'"

    On why he wants to compete in the Olympics: "I'm gonna get so many babes."
Congratulations to a great competitor, a funny kid, and hopefully a refreshing presence in sports for years to come.

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