Shaun White wins fourth in a row
Simmit Daily News
Maybe if Travis Rice had landed his final trick, the Winter X Games spotlight would have been diverted away from the smiling mug of Shaun White.
But when Rice slightly overrotated on that mindboggling maneuver ” a 1080 with a double backflip that he threw off the biggest jump on the course ” the win was White’s.
It was the fourth consecutive men’s snowboard slopestyle victory for White, a.k.a. “The Flying Tomato.” His feat followed that of Janna Meyen, who completed her own slopestyle fourpeat roughly three hours prior on the same course Saturday afternoon.
“I was trying to bump the little pipsqueak out,” said Rice, whose Winter X slopestyle gold medal in 2002 was the last before White began his run.
Instead, the little pipsqueak finished in the same place he has been after every competition this winter: the top of the podium.
Asked to gauge his current confidence level, White said, “It’s doing pretty good. I’ve got the year in a sweep so far. It’s insane. I just feel good about my riding.”
White, 19, qualified fourth on Friday, a result that disturbed him at the time but didn’t affect his performance when it counted on Saturday.
He punctuated a virtually flawless first run in the final with a clean 1080, then thrust his fist high in the air as the thousands cheered from below. The judges rewarded him with an almost unheard-of 95-point score.
Norway’s Andreas Wiig took silver (89.00), landing a 1080 of his own to wrap up his second run. Danny Kass claimed bronze (86.66) for his seventh career Winter X Games medal.
Both riders later appeared plenty pleased with their results, in part because the top spot at every elite snowboarding competition these days seems to be reserved for White.
“He’s hard to beat, I’ll tell you that,” said Wiig.
Kass concurred: “You don’t get to see him practice, so you kind of hope you can beat him. But then ” you saw his first run ” you’re just like, Wow. You’re kind of more stoked just for snowboarding in general and seeing how technical it’s getting.”
“I’m having a good year,” White said. “That’s all I can say.”
Breckenridge’s Chad Otterstrom finished sixth (75.00) after qualifying eighth. Rice, whose final trick Kass called “the wildest thing I’ve ever seen,” settled for ninth in the field of 10.
Devon O’Neil can be contacted firstname.lastname@example.org
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