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Shaun White won three gold medals in five Olympics as a member of Team USA, and he had a chance to recall what it meant to him to represent the stars and stripes on the global stage.

White participated in his first Olympics when he was 19 years old. He told Fox News Digital he didn’t know what it meant initially to wear the red, white and blue until he returned home from Turin, Italy, following the 2006 Games.


Shaun White with the flag

Shaun White takes first place during the Snowboarding Men's Halfpipe Finals at Pheonix Snow Park on Feb. 14, 2018, in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Laurent Salino/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)

"It was amazing. I really had the honor to do that five times, which is wild. To be honest, I didn’t really get it the first time I went to the Olympics," White said. "I was like, cool, I’m here, I’m trying to win this, you know? Me, me, me, which [is] what the sport is. It’s like my tricks, my practice hours, my competition, my runs, my whatever, my sponsors, all these things, and then you get home and you realize, after I won the Olympics, people were like, ‘You did it. You made America proud, you made us proud.’ And I didn’t realize that until afterward."

"So, I would say, by my second, third, fourth, fifth Olympics, I was really like, 'OK, we’re here, like, it’s Team USA.’ I’m cheering for sports that I would never have. … You’re really a part of a team when snowboarding is such an individual sport. Now we’re part of this team. I always loved the Olympics for that. I was honored to do that."

White said representing the U.S. really resonated with him when he went on the USO tour.

Shaun White looks on

Shaun White competed in the second run of the Men's Snowboard Halfpipe Final on day 7 of the Beijing Winter Olympics at Genting Snow Park in Zhangjiakou, China, on Feb. 11, 2022. (Dimitris Isevidis/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)


"And it really actually hit home. I went on a USO tour because our troops overseas, they don’t get to come home during the holidays. … And so, we’re over there, and just to see people’s faces when I came through was really a fulfilling and humbling experience."

White told Fox News Digital what being American meant to him after going through several different countries and seeing a ton of different cultures.

"This is where I was born. This is where I learned everything I know," he said. "And to be honest, making the Olympic team, it’s like being a part of history. It’s like representing where I come from. I don’t know how to describe it. You can tell my age when I first went to the Olympics, I was like it’s kind of like ‘Harry Potter.’ You got all these different schools coming to the same place and we’re all showing our uniqueness and our culture and representing who we are."

"And I think that’s such a beautiful thing because there’s so many things that go on in the world that separate us," White continued. "And the Olympics is one thing that’s always like, ‘Hey, we’re going to come together under the umbrella of sports and celebrate athleticism.’ And so that was always a cool thing that I was proud of and it made me, I think, more proud of where I am from afterward."

Shaun White at a qualifier

Shaun White is shown during the Men's Snowboard Halfpipe Qualification event on day five of the Beijing Winter Olympic Games at Genting Snow Park in Zhangjiakou, China. (Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)


White retired after the 2022 Olympics with three Olympic gold medals and 10 Winter X Games gold medals.

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