“The key to having success like Shaun is that he has the highest expectations of himself. There are certain guys who reach that level and lose their motivation. They’re like, ‘Ah, I’m number one. I’m over it.’ But when you have the mentality like Shaun, you get to that stage and you’re like, ‘What’s next?’ What else can I do? How else can I push this?’ It doesn’t matter that he’s won everything.”
– Skateboarding icon Tony Hawk says this about Olympic snowboarder Shaun White in Don’t Look Down, a new documentary from Charlie and Willie Ebersol. I went to a screening hosted by the Ebersol boys’ dad, NBC Universal Sports boss Dick Ebersol, and their mom, actress Susan Saint James. This film follows White, the world’s greatest snowboarder, on his quest to become the world’s greatest skateboarder, and then follows the so-called Flying Tomato to Rwanda, of all places. Due to air on ESPN in July, the film is strange and funny and full of lessons about victory and defeat.
The Ebersols sure know about victory and defeat. In 2006, I wrote about Dick Ebersol’s recovery from the plane crash that killed their son Teddy. I remember, Teddy was a Tony Hawk fanatic.
After the screening, Jessica Shambora, a new Fortune reporter who is my partner on Postcards (see her post below), and I talked Olympics with Bob Costas. So who will the breakout star of Beijing? Watch swimmer Michael Phelps. The real drama, though, will be the Chinese vying to outscore the U.S. The pride of a nation hangs in the balance.