2010 Olympic Snowboarder/Skateboarder
Hometown: San Diego, CA
What do you do when you are so far above the rest of your competition? According to pro snowboarder Shaun White, you just build your own half pipe in the back of a mountain and take a helicopter to practice every day. Sound like the life of the average 23-year-old? Not so much, but “The Animal” is far from ordinary.
Hailing from San Diego, not only is White a two-time olympic gold medalist in snowboarding, but also the only athlete to ever win gold in both the Winter and Summer X-Games in the same year. At the age of nine, Tony Hawk spotted him at a local skate park and took him under his wing. Talk about a mentor. By the age of 13, White had turned pro in snowboarding and at 17, in skateboarding. With such success at an early age it would have been very easy to lose your head but this crazy redhead stayed grounded. He is loved by all that know him, and has used his notoriety to create the Shaun White Great Room at the Target House – a home-away-from-home for families who have children undergoing treatment at St. Jude’s. As if that wasn’t enough – can you believe he’s single?
2010 Olympic Figure Skater
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Evan Lysacek became an overnight celebrity when he took home Olympic gold in Vancouver this past February.
For the first time in 22 years, USA won in the men’s event but it wasn’t a cakewalk to get there. Evan Lysacek has been doing nothing but training for that moment for the last 14 years. Stress fractures, broken ribs, hip injuries – you name it, Lysacek’s worked through it. He spends about four hours a day on the ice training, and four hours off- whether it be weight lifting, running, or choreography. The discipline, commitment, and dedication he has to his sport is unparalleled and it is exactly why he has reached his ultimate goal.
There’s more than Triple Axels and Flying Camel spins to this 24 year old. He’s managed to accomplish the perfect balance of style, poise, and masculinity in his life, both on and off the ice. Designers from Christian Dior to the late Alexander McQueen have flocked to him to create one-of-a-kind looks for his programs. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Lysacek’s an avid Lakers fan and has snagged cutie gymnast Nastia Liukin who won the Olympic Gold in 2008 in all-around.
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Rebecca burst onto the international scene at the 2008 Olympics when she beat out Aussie favorite Leisel Jones to take the gold medal in the 200m breaststroke. She didn’t stop there either, taking home the silver in the 100m breaststroke as well. This USC senior holds pretty much every record in school history where breaststroke is involved and is considered one of the top two swimmers of that event in the world. With the 2012 Olympics just around the corner, she looks to take home two golds and make her country (and state) proud.
Hometown: San Clemente, CA
There’s a popular saying of being “born to” do something. In Ryan’s case, it’s not just a hypothetical phrase.
At 18 months old, Ryan Sheckler found his dad’s skateboard and began pushing it around on one knee, until he was eventually standing on it. By the age of six, he was spending every second he could practicing in the skate park his dad built for him in their back yard. Much like Shaun White, Tony Hawk was instrumental in the development of Sheckler’s talent. For his 6th birthday party, Sheckler pleaded with his parents to email Hawk and invite him – there would be chocolate cake after all. Luckily, Hawk has a sweet tooth and the rest is history. By the age of 13, Sheckler had turned pro and earned himself his first gold medal in the X-Games – not to mention the title of youngest gold medalist in X-Games history. He’s since gone on to win two more medals and hopes to add to that this summer.
In 2007, MTV took notice of this bright young star and pitched a deal to film a reality show on his life, which has become so popular that it’s about to start its third season. Barely 20, Sheckler is living the dream. Between appearances and contests, this Clemente born and raised kid manages to have quite the social life. With a hot girlfriend, a new pimped out house, and yet still a good head on his shoulders, the sky’s the limit for Sheckler.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Hometown: Pasadena, CA
This 24 year old took the MLB world by storm at spring training in 2008 when he stepped in for a bunch of injured third base veterans. He ended up as the third base starter for the Dodgers on opening day and started most of the 2008 season before being benched and shuffled between the Dodger’s minor league system since then. Being the young guy, and the new kid on the block, Blake DeWitt has really had to prove his worth and has done so by learning the ways of second base. With veteran Orlando Hudson gone, there’s a battle for the second base job this spring and it’s DeWitt’s to lose.
Where will you find this small town boy in his down time? Not at the club or beach but laying low. He resides in Pasadena to avoid the LA traffic to and from the stadium and likes to spend his down time hunting or fishing.
Hometown: Oakland, CA
It hasn’t taken long for this youngster to make a huge impact in Oakland. Not only is he one of the best offensive outfielders in the game but he can hit the ball as well, batting .293 last year. The end of last season was a bit rough for Ryan Sweeney, as he played through some though knee injuries but he’s feeling good and healthy this spring and is only looking to improve on last year’s numbers. What was Sweeney doing this offseason? Nothing big - just getting married. Congratulations to Sweeney and his bride Natasha Lampson.
New Orleans Saints
Hometown: San Diego, CA
This 25 –year-old San Diego native may be the luckiest man alive. He has a shiny new Super Bowl ring, a Heisman Trophy, and will soon be putting a ring of a different kind on one of the hottest women alive – Kim Kardashian. Starting out his career at Helix High School in San Diego, Pete Carrol spotted Reggie Bush and recruited him to play for USC. During his three years as a Trojan, Bush shattered records and earned countless awards before opting to enter the NFL draft before his senior year. His NFL career has had its ups and downs and Bush has been plagued with injuries but everything came together like magic for the playoffs this year. Although his heart is in SoCal, it’s wasn’t difficult to fall in love with the city and spirit of New Orleans and Bush donates 25% of his earnings from jersey sales to the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Hometown: Santa Ana, CA
While in high school at Mater Dei High in Santa Ana, California;. Matt Barkley’s football coach described his skill as being a cross betweenTom Brady and Joe Montana. He wasn’t exaggerating. Last fall, Barkley became USC’s first true freshman quarterback to start a season opener. The result: a 56-3 blowout in favor of the Trojans. The rest of the season wasn’t quite as smooth, but the 19 year old carried the team like a seasoned pro and earned them a win at the Emerald Bowl. Next year’s goals will, no doubt, prove to be loftier but Barkley is ready for the challenge.
You’d think that being in one of the most sought after positions in college football might change a person’s values. Not the case with Barkley. He plays guitar in his church’s youth group and spent his 2008 Christmas holiday in South Africa volunteering at a children’s orphanage. Finally, a boy you’d be proud to take home to Mom and Dad.
Hometown: South Lake Tahoe, CA
Although she originally hails from Vermont, Hannah has since adopted South Lake Tahoe, California as her new home. At the age of 23, she already has two Olympic medals under her belt – a silver fresh from Vancouver just a couple months ago, and a gold from Torino in 2006. Add to that a gaggle of X-Game medals, an ESPY award for best action sport female, and her very own Ben and Jerry’s flavor of ice cream and you are just barely touching on the accomplishments of this young athlete.
Hannah Teter has used her notoriety in the utmost positive way – starting Teter’s Gold, a company that raises money to build schools, dig water wells, and help with water filtration in Kirindon, Kenya. She is also famous for donating her contest prize money to those in need, including the people of Dafur and the survivors of the Haiti Earthquake. This cool, down to earth chick is not only beautiful on the inside but scored one of four spots for Winter Olympians in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition.
Running Back, Stanford
Hometown: Norco , CA
Born and raised in Norco, California, Gerhart still holds the third highest total of rushing yards in high school history – a record he made at Norco High. The record breaking doesn’t stop there either. Just to list a few: Toby Gerhart has the second most rushing yards in Stanford history, was the 2009 Pac-10 offensive player of the year, and just barely missed out winning the 2009 Heisman Trophy in a vote that proved to be the slimmest margin of defeat in its history. Now for the curveball, literally - he is a starting outfielder on Stanford’s baseball team. He is such a great player in fact that he was offered a lucrative contract after the 2009 MLB draft, but turned it down to return to college football. Now the world awaits to see what’s in store for Gerhart as he will enter the NFL draft and find out his destiny at the end of April.
By Kiowa Bryan