Hindustan Times (Lucknow) - - Front Page - As­so­ci­ated Press ▪ sports­desk@hin­dus­tan­times.com

PYEONGCHANG: Snow­board­ing at the Olympics turned 20 this year, and there’s a good chance that in an­other two decades, peo­ple will still be talk­ing about the con­test that went down in the moun­tains of South Korea on Wed­nes­day.

They will def­i­nitely still be talk­ing about Shaun White.

It wasn’t so much that White won his third gold to place his name among the great­est to com­pete in the Olympics, or in any realm of sports, for that mat­ter. It was the way he did it. His win­ning run capped a con­test that, even be­fore he dropped in for the fi­nale, was the best, in terms of pure dif­fi­culty, show­man­ship and guts that has ever been seen on a half­pipe.

It came with the heart-thump­ing pres­sure of know­ing he had to land the most dif­fi­cult run he ever at­tempted, or set­tle for sil­ver.

It in­cluded back-to-back jumps, each with 1440 de­grees of spin, that are, quite lit­er­ally, death-de­fy­ing. They were tricks White said after­wards that he had never landed in suc­ces­sion — not in prac­tice and, of course, never in a con­test.

“I knew I had it in me,” he said. “The fear was out of the door. I’m at the Olympics. I had to do it. I’m stand­ing at the top, in my favourite po­si­tion, with the pres­sure of the world and one run to go. Man, it brings out the best in me. I’m so glad that’s a part of me as a com­peti­tor.”

On the win­ning trip, White got the tough stuff out of the way early, drop­ping straight into the half­pipe, fly­ing nearly 20 feet above it and whip­ping his body around twice while go­ing head­over-heels two times for the first 1440. He landed high enough on the wall to gather suf­fi­cient speed to travel to the other side and es­sen­tially do a mir­ror im­age of the first trick.

From there, it was sim­ply a mat­ter of stay­ing up­right.

He per­formed what’s known as the Sky Hook — a 20-foot vault above the deck in which he bent him­self into the shape of a comma, while grab­bing the board and tweak­ing it up to­ward his back­side to show judges the style they de­mand. His fi­nal trick was one he patented: the Double McTwist 1260, in which he took off from the wall for two flips with 1 ½ twists, grab­bing the board and prac­ti­cally wrestling it over his head to com­plete the jump and stick the land­ing.

He knew he’d done it, but the wait — about 120 sec­onds — was ag­o­niz­ing. “I was try­ing not to make eye-con­tact with the judges,” White said.


▪ Shaun White of the United States cel­e­brates af­ter the half­pipe fi­nals in Pyeongchang on Wed­nes­day.

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