White takes halfpipe crown at US Open
BURTON U.S. OPEN
MEN’S HALFPIPE FINAL RESULTS
1) Shaun White, USA, 92.7
2) Scotty James, AUS, 82.8
3) Chase Josey, USA, 79.8
4) Iouri Podladichikov, SUI, 78.2
5) Raibu Katayama, JPN, 77.7
6) Danny Davis, USA, 59.5
7) Ayumu Hirano, JPN, 51
8) Pat Burgener, SUI, 46.8
9) David Habluetzel, SUI, 44.8
10) Jake Pates, USA, 38.6
VAIL — The oldest competitor was also the best Saturday as Shaun White rode away with a win at the Burton U.S. Open halfpipe finals.
White, now 30, landed the YOLO Flip — a switch frontside 1440 with two inverts — along with his signature Double McTwist to notch a score of 92.74, nearly 10 points higher than second place competitor Scotty James of Australia.
White said recent performances from younger riders — James is 22 and third place Chase Josey is 21 — has been keeping him motivated to ride his best.
“I need the motivation with the Olympics coming up,” White said following the competition.
White was a two-time Olympic gold medalist heading into the last Olympics, where he watched Swiss team competitor Iouri Podladtchikov land the YOLO Flip and take the gold. White said leading up to the 2014 Olympics, he thought he too would be able to land the YOLO, but it didn’t come together for him in Sochi.
“It just wasn’t there for me when I needed it, so I’ve adjusted the way that I do it,” he said. “In my run, it felt great, and even in practice I landed a couple of really great (YOLO Flips), so I’m really excited about the progress.”
White said he has not been considering his age to be a factor as he prepares for not only the 2018 Olympics, but the possibility of competing in both the 2020 Games as a skateboarder and the 2022 Olympics as a snowboarder.
“I am looking that far ahead,” White said. “As people, we like to put a number on things, or an expiration date, but I don’t really see it that way … I’d love to make the team and compete in PyeongChang in 2018, and then I’ve got to make a really heavy decision if I’m going to try to compete in skateboarding in the 2020 Olympics in Japan and then switch back over and try to make it to China.”
While White says he has been motivated by the younger riders, those younger riders are finding him to be quite an inspiration, as well.
“Shaun was one of the first halfpipe riders I looked up to as a grommet,” Josey said. “To finally be riding with you and share a podium, and seeing where you are now, it’s inspirational.”
James wasn’t quite as endearing in his comments.
“Old rusty buckets is still doing good,” he said with a laugh. “I really like how Shaun’s still going, because like he said, people put an end date on an athlete … he’s defying those odds and it’s really cool to see. I want to be in same position when I’m turning my dirty thirties.”
James has been throwing a lot of competition White’s way this season, beating out the veteran at X Games in January and the Olympic test event in South Korea in February.
“Shaun and I have had some really good back and forths this season,” James said. “I have so much respect for him as well as Chase and the other riders out there.”
The snowboarders will head to Spain next for the FIS Freestyle Ski & Snowboarding World Championships, taking place March 6-19 in Sierra Nevada.
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