With all the buildup to the X-Games Superpipe final, you’d hope for a bit more suspense. With Shaun white heading for his sixth consecutive gold medal in the event, a fourteen year-old making his X-Games debut, and Iouri Podladtchikov (I-Pod), believed to be White’s biggest (read: only) potential challenger, dropping out of the event due to illness, there was no shortage of storylines. After the first heat was completed, however, all the suspense was gone as Shaun had all but locked up the number one spot with a stellar 95.00 on his first run.
Despite having first place and his coveted six-peat virtually locked up, Shaun White came out on his second run with something to prove. Another perfect score wasn’t good enough – that had been done before (albeit by Mr. White himself, just one year ago). No, he wanted to go big…bigger than anyone up to that point had gone. White dropped in with his signature balls-to-the-wall approach and pulled off a monstrous backside method…which just happened to be a bit over 24 feet above the lip of the Superpipe. Let’s stop there for a minute. 24 feet high, let it sink in. To most normal people, the rim of a basketball hoop seems like the Empire State building. Now double that and, for good measure, put one of those Fischer-Price toy basketball hoops on top of it. Still can’t picture that in your head? When Shaun White aired out of the pipe, he made the 19-foot giraffe looking on feel self-conscious about his height. Yep, now that you’ve got that image in your head, we’re ready to continue on this journey. Stop thinking about giraffes.
After casually launching himself out of Earth’s orbit, Shaun threw a frontside double cork 1080, immediately followed by a cab double cork 1080, then, to take a “break” threw an enormous frontside 540, followed up by a double McTwist 1260 and, finally, a frontside double cork 1260. That’s 14.5 complete spins with an average of around 16 feet of amplitude. Spin around 14 and a half times, jump as high as you can on a trampoline and start doing flips…tell me how confident you feel that you’ll land safely on said trampoline.
Now, you’re probably asking why all this setup was necessary, right? Because I’m sure many of you out there are tired of Shaun White being in the limelight…maybe you even think he is overrated. He’s not. He is as good as billed, and we should respect the fact that he has the guts to go so huge and the technical skill to pull off such a difficult string of tricks while keeping an average of over 16 feet. Shaun White can win the next 10 gold medals and I, for one, will never get tired of watching him literally fly above the competition.