Winter X Games 10 in review
The week began with a cute little slogan (Winter X turns X!) and ended with a new contract, Olympic previews and history made.Here, we take a look back at the highlights from the last six days. Athlete of the Games: Shaun White. Seriously, who else these days? The kid is a kid in so many regards the wide teenage eyes, the bubbly attitude, the pimples. But if there is an athlete who dominates his or her sport more than White dominates snowboarding, its happening in oblivion. By coming to Aspen at all, White risked his Olympic future. He worked four years to get his shot at the pinnacle of sport, then, earlier this season, he earned it. You almost figured he would let his undefeated record rest for Italy, but instead he showed up at Buttermilk and won two gold medals, including his fourth straight in slopestyle. Mondays halfpipe gold was his sixth overall at Winter X, tying the legendary Shaun Palmer for the most in the events history. Better yet, it kept Whites perfect season alive going into the Italy pipe contest. Over the past few weeks the 19-year-old from the beach town of Carlsbad, Calif., has been featured in Sports Illustrated, on the front page of USA Today and in the L.A. Times, among other national publications. He handles his obligations with spunk and energy, seemingly never tiring or letting it affect his performance on snow.It has come to this: After what he did this week in Aspen, if White doesnt win gold in Italy, it would be one of the biggest stories of the Olympics.
Best trick: Travis Rice, 1080 with a double back flip. Rice, a fearless rider from Jackson Hole, pulled this move on the last hit of the last run in Saturdays slopestyle final. He overrotated slightly on his third full spin, and thus didnt land the maneuver cleanly. But nobody who saw this trick in person walked away without shaking his head at its breathtaking nature. White, who won the competition, was seen mouthing Holy s— on the Jumbotron as Rice went for it off the 65-foot kicker.Rice, who finished ninth after qualifying first, dubbed the move a Frumbee afterward, though it was clear he really didnt know what to call it. It was the wildest thing Ive ever seen, said veteran rider Danny Kass, who took bronze in the slopestyle. I was scared, happy and nervous all at the same time.Best moment: Janna Meyens fourpeat in womens snowboarding slopestyle. It came a few hours before Whites, but this one was more dramatic. Meyen fell on her first of two trips down the course and stood in last place entering the final run. She rebounded, as champions do, and exulted at the finish for the weeks best spontaneous show of emotion.Biggest non-competition story: Tie ESPNs new contract with the Aspen Skiing Co., as well as the Olympic withdrawal syndrome. Its big news especially to businesses up and down the Roaring Fork Valley that the X Games will call Buttermilk home at least through 2010. It was also big news when the three biggest female names at these games Olympic snowboarders Gretchen Bleiler, Hannah Teter and Lindsey Jacobellis all pulled out of their respective competitions within a few hours of each other Saturday. They cited slight injuries and mental exhaustion, obviously wanting to be fresh for the coming Winter Games in Italy.Best Olympic preview: Mens snowboard superpipe. Five of the 10 riders in Monday nights final will also be in action in Turin, including the gold medal favorite and Mondays champ, Shaun White. The mens boarder X final which was won by U.S. rider Nate Holland included six Olympians, though the absence of French gold medal contender Xavier de le Rue made it incomplete.Best comeback: Tie Mike Metzger and Tanner Hall. Metzger rebounded from the loss of a testicle, while Hall broke both ankles and heels last March. Both competed this week. Too close to choose just one.Best quote: This is their Woodstock. An Aspen local, on the thousands of teens who flock to the Winter X Games.Aspen, ColoradoDevon ONeil can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13630, or email@example.com
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