The best athletes in the world are in Sochi right now competing for gold. It’s the end of a long road, full of intense training.
Despite his status as, arguably, the most famous athlete at the Winter Olympics, White’s trip to Sochi was anything but preordained. His documentary released in December followed him through the qualifying process, including injuries, falls and on-the-fly scheduling changes but ends with White grabbing spots on the U.S. team for both halfpipe and the new Olympic discipline of slopestyle.

The documentary offers looks at White’s training regimen, and though White’s road starts with a setback, the likes of which many athletes would never share with the world, he didn’t look at the fall and the frustration as moments to hide.

“If you saw me pop up at the Olympics and do a couple double 14s, win medals and say, ‘That’s really cool,’ you wouldn’t know the whole thing,” he said. “You wouldn’t know I tried all this other stuff. It’s so much more than just me showing up and saying, ‘It worked out or it didn’t work out.’”

White dropped out of the slopestyle competition prior to Sochi and at the bottom of the half pipe at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, on the final night of a rough third Olympics for White, he took home fourth in the half pipe, losing his chance at a third gold medal. If you followed these Games, you probably heard a lot about the famous redheaded snowboarder, and none of it good, from criticism about dropping out of slopestyle to coming short in the men’s half pipe finals.

While White may have been kept off of the medal podium, but that didn’t stop him from becoming an Olympic hero during his time at the Sochi Games.

Kids from the Make-A-Wish Foundation were flown to Sochi to watch White compete in the Winter Olympics, and the experience that they gained was something greater than they would have ever imagined. Not only did White take the time to meet the kids after his qualifying runs, but he also gave them the snowboards he used during the Sochi Games as a great keepsake.

While going for the gold, White captured the Olympian spirit. His drive can be a motivator for us to not only reach for our own fitness goals but to understand that we too can make a difference.