Shaun White in running for double-gold at X Games
the aspen times
For his last run of the night, Shaun White didn’t attempt a trick.
Instead the Carlsbad, Calif., product waved to the crowd, and coasted down the superpipe, content with his second place finish.
He led after the first round of the snowboard superpipe event with an 88, and then Swiss competitor, Iouri Podladtchikov surpassed White by 0.33.
No matter, White will still compete for two gold medals this weekend.
White also qualified for the snowboard slopestyle final Thursday afternoon, but in a much different fashion than the superpipe. White was fifth after the first round with a 67.33.
His run was clean, highlighted by a switch backside 1080 and a half cab front side 1080. Defending gold medalist Mark McMorris, however, looked like he was a step above White.
McMorris calmly posted an 88.66 – the highest mark of the day.
Peetu Piiroinen of Finland, last year’s bronze medalist, finished second with an 81.33, while White, 26, finished seventh after crashing during his second run on the third jump of the slopestyle course, attempting a cab 1260.
Last year’s silver medalist, Sage Kotsenburg, of Park City, Utah, failed to qualify after falling on both of his runs and finishing 13.
White hasn’t medaled in the slopestyle since 2009, and had to drop out of the competition last year because of a sprained ankle.
He will have to improve his tricks to keep pace with McMorris, who is seven years younger than White (19). The slopestyle final is Saturday at noon.
White will compete for his sixth straight gold medal in the superpipe Sunday at 7:45 p.m.
Basalt’s Torin Yater-Wallace said last week he wasn’t near where his ability would typically be after undergoing shoulder surgery in September.
He looked just fine in his first competition back Thursday morning on Buttermilk.
Yater-Wallace scored a 90 in his first run in the skiing superpipe event, and his score only eclipsed by the defending gold medalist, David Wise of Reno, Nevada in the final run of the day.
Aspen’s Alex Ferreira – a former Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard club athlete – failed to qualify for tonight’s final after falling on both runs. He wound up 13th in his first X Games appearance with a score of 37.
It was Yater-Wallace who proved to be undaunted after training for just a little more than five weeks, and not competing in a single event since last season. He opened his first run with a right side double cork 1260, then landed every trick afterward to claim the top spot from France’s Kevin Rolland, who put up an 88 before Yater-Wallace took to the pipe.
In Yater-Wallace’s second run, with the finals spot already locked up, he dialed the difficulty down a notch, and scored an 87.
Wise improved on his 87 in his first run with a 92 in the second to head into the final as the No. 1 qualifier.
Yater-Wallace looks to win his third medal in as many opportunities. Last year, he grabbed the bronze medal, and in 2011, as a 15 year-old, he took silver.
Kevin Rolland, the 2010 and 2011 gold medalist, qualified second with a first run score of 88. Tanner Hall, making a comeback to the games since having knee surgery in 2009 and becoming addicted to painkillers, failed to qualify with two uninspiring runs that produced scores of 66.33 and 69.33.
Last year’s silver medalist, Noah Bowman, was held out of the finals by finishing ninth with a second round score of 70.66.
Due to deadlines, look for results from Friday night’s final in Sunday’s Summit Daily News.
Gretchen Bleiler, a four-time Winter X Games gold medalist, decided Wednesday evening to drop out of today’s snowboard superpipe competition.
The Snowmass Village resident first announced her decision on Twitter midday Thursday and spoke Thursday night on ESPN about her decision.
Bleiler was due to compete despite shattering her eye socket during a trampoline session in June in Park City, Utah. It was a long journey back to being able to compete as the Snowmass Village resident struggled with double vision and vertigo resulting from surgery.
“Obviously a really tough decision for me,” Bleiler told X Games host Ramona Bruland. “I love X Games, this is my hometown. I would love to just go out there and give everyone a good show.
“My vision is better, but I just need a little bit more time on snow. To compete at the X Games, this is the biggest stage. This is the best riding. You have the world’s best athletes coming together, and you have to be in it 100 percent.”
She told The Associated Press last week she wasn’t planning any outlandish tricks and reserves the right to drop out at the last minute.
“From any traumatic injury, you’re going to experience a lack of confidence,” Bleiler told the AP. “There’s a whole process you have to go through to break free of that.”
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