Author of Story: Lindsey Sine – US Snowboarding News/USSA.ORG
White, Lago, Vito Complete X Games Podium
ASPEN, CO (Jan. 30) – Shaun White (Carlsbad, CA) nailed a near flawless second run to take first in the Winter X Games halfpipe Sunday night, marking the first athlete to four-peat in X Games halfpipe history. White was followed by Scotty Lago (Seabrook, NH) with the silver and Louie Vito (Sandy, UT) with the bronze.
“Tonight was a great night,” White said. “I can’t describe the feeling. All the other riders were amazing and it forced me to do my absolute best. I am so happy to have another one of these gold medals around my neck.”
The leather-clad two-time Olympic gold medalist threw down a first run that didn’t match up to what Lago had put together before him, so the pressure was on for White to deliver in run two. And, classic to form, White had an ace up his sleeve in the form of a double McTwist that would earn him a 97.33 and the win at the end of the night.
“I saw Lago destroying it and I figured it was all or nothing at that point. I needed to stick the best run I could,” White said. “It was more than a feeling if you know what I mean.”
Olympic bronze medalist Lago threw out a cab double 10, front double 10, cab 7, frontside 9 to a backside 9 to take the leader spot in run one. After getting pushed back to second, he held it for the remainder of the competition. The silver medalist, who also took home the gold in X Games best method, was dealing with some additional opposition, thanks to a wired shut broken jaw.
“Honestly, I couldn’t picture a better outcome. I was a little nervous that I was going to get hurt, but I got two more X Games medals and I am pumped,” Lago said. “I actually think that was the best run I’ve ever done, better than the run I put down in the Olympics.”
Despite throwing out three double corks in run one, Vito found himself sitting in fifth position with one last chance to grab a medal in run three. And grab the chance he did, boosting more amplitude on his three doubles, and throwing in a 12 on his last hit to take the bronze.
“It feels amazing. It feels like the monkey is off my back here. I’ve been coming here every year and wanting it so bad. Almost too much to where I couldn’t put down a run,” Vito said. “I love the pressure; I love the feeling of contests, so that last run seemed to really work out for me . It was the kind of run I can be happy with. You can’t control what the judges do, so as long as I put down the run I wanted, I could walk away happy. I got rewarded for it and got my first Winter X Games medal.”
The night marked the end of an incredibly successful week for U.S. Snowboarding athletes who earned 11 medals in three events, including halfpipe, snowboardcross and best method. According to Halfpipe Head Coach Mike Jankowski, a big part of the success comes from the preparation athletes and staff put in prior to the event.
“We’re beside ourselves, this is our biggest X Games ever for U.S. Snowboarding. It’s a testament to all our hard work and the dedication our riders put into the events,” Jankowski said. “We just had a great feeling of comfort and ease coming in here because all the hard work had been done before we got here and we couldn’t be happier.”
That preparation, as far as U.S. Snowboarding Program Director Jeremy Forster is concerned, is everything from the coaching staff to the athletic trainers to medical staff that stay on the road and on the ball to keep the athletes on top of their a game.
“These riders are amazing. I’m so stoked for them. The whole U.S. Snowboarding crew is so dedicated to supporting the athletes. Best X Games ever,” Forster said.
With X Games wrapped up, U.S. Snowboarding athletes are headed for Utah where the SBX crew will compete in the Sprint U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix at Canyons Resort in Park City on Feb. 9-12, and halfpipe and slopestyle make their way to Snowbasin for the last stop of the Winter Dew Tour.
2011 Winter X Games
Aspen, CO – Jan. 30, 2011