Nobody would know who Olympian Shaun White is if it weren't for this one Muskegon man.

It's hard to imagine, but Shaun White wouldn't have won 13 Gold Medals in the Winter Olympics if it weren't for this Muskegon father creating a toy for his kids on Christmas day of 1965. Sherman Poppen forever changed Winter sports according to Wikipedia,

Modern snowboarding began in 1965 when Sherman Poppen, an engineer in Muskegon, Michigan, invented a toy for his daughters by fastening two skis together and attaching a rope to one end so he would have some control as they stood on the board and glided downhill.

The snowboard was originally called a snurfer board since it was like surfing on snow.  Snurfing and snurfing competitions not only grew in popularity in the '80s in Michigan, but they also took off nationwide. Later snowboarding became a part of the X-Games. As it grew in popularity worldwide it became a part of the Winter Olympics.

In March 2020, Sherman Poppen was inducted posthumously into the U.S. Ski-Snowboard Hall of Fame according to MLive,

He is among the 2019 class of “snowsport pioneers” who were chosen in August to be the newest members of the hall of fame.

Mr. Poppen, we salute you.

There's not a lot of video of Sherman Poppen. However, I did find an interview with Mr. Poppen talking about the origins of the snurfer board and how that went from a toy for his kids to an Olympic sport.

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