Superstar White takes third gold
Aspen Times Staff Writer
Getting a word in with three-time X Games gold medalist Shaun White is about as easy as interviewing one of the Beatles in their heyday.
After winning gold in the men’s snowboard slopestyle Saturday with an X Games record-high score of 96, White, from Carlsbad, Calif., was immediately swarmed by an army of cameras at the bottom of the course. When he finally made his exit from the exclusive access area nearly 45 minutes later, White was hit with a second wave, this time from a horde of adoring fans screaming his name.
With his hood pulled over his head, White, 17, was escorted by X Games staffers through the frenzied crowd toward the medal podium. Teenage girls lunged and pulled at him as other fans shoved pens and posters in his face, pleading for autographs.
When asked if he had a moment to comment on his absurdly powerful, smooth performance, White laughed, “Uh, no, not really.”
Thus is the life of a superhero snowboarder.
White secured gold after two flawless runs that included an array of rail combos and three 900s. He’ll be gunning for his fourth consecutive gold medal in the games when he enters the superpipe finals tonight, and at least one fellow competitor thinks his chances are good.
“Shaun doesn’t come here to get second,” said Travis Williams of Whistler, British Columbia, who placed fifth in the men’s snowboard slopestyle. “He’s going to clean up the next four years.”
As good as White is on snow, he’s nearly as good on a skateboard. A couple years ago, he became the first athlete ever to qualify for both the Summer and Winter X Games.
And amid all of his success at such an early age, White has managed to keep a level head.
“He’s the funniest guy, he’s always singing and messing around [in the competitions],” Williams said. “He’s the raddest guy ” I have a lot of respect for him.”
Danny Kass, from Mammoth Lakes, Calif., finished second in the men’s snowboard slopestyle, with Andreas Wiig, from Asker, Norway, placing third in his X Games debut.
Janna Meyen, from Bend, Ore., won her second consecutive gold in the women’s snowboard slopestyle after throwing a different move on every rail and sticking a backside 540 near the bottom of the course.
Tara Dakides, from Mammoth Lakes, Calif., won silver, and Jessica Dalpiaz of Salt Lake City, Utah, won bronze.
Steve Benson’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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Canadian snowboarding superstar Mark McMorris is the most decorated Winter X Games athlete of all time.