Shaun White and Alberto Tomba: The Combination of Professional Marketing Management and Athletic Success
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One of the most marketable athletes from the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver was the gold medal-winning American snowboarder Shaun White. Prior to the Games, White was already a marketing goldmine. He first won gold in Torino in 2006 and had amassed nine X-Games gold medals by the time the Vancouver Games began. His personality, image and dominance of his sport all contributed to the cultivation of a media image re-made for marketing. White's empire includes a multi-million-selling snowboarding video and Nintendo Wii snowboard simulators. White also had millions of dollars in sponsorships, even going beyond snowboarding gear to earn endorsements from Hewlett Packard and Target (Carter, 2010).
White emerged as a dominant force in the X-Games as early as 2003, and in those early years became highly successful as an athlete. He was able to build his marketing brand slowly, but with his distinctive look, his success and his personality would become a marketing mogul after his gold medal win in 2006. Those Olympics brought White to the world stage, and from there he only built his empire. Vancouver just took the marketing of Shaun White to another level.
The rise of Shaun White mirrors the rise of another Olympic champion, slalom skier Alberto Tomba, a couple of decades earlier. Like White he emerged quickly and rose to prominence right before the Olympics, when he won World Cup victories in 1987. The sport of slalom skiing appeals for a fairly small demographic, but