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Ex-Olympics star Shaun White recalls representing US in snowboarding, reveals what being American means to him

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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 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.