Video: Justin Gunson
Photos: Chris Wellhausen
“I wanted to be here. This is what i believe in.”
White-Mare? Dark White? Whatever you wanna call the new look by Shaun White, the song remains the same: X Games Gold in Men’s Superpipe Finals. Earning a score of 97.33 on his second run, capped by his trademark Whitesnake, Shaun looks almost impossible to beat, once again.
To quote Todd Richards, “Kazu gets the shaft.” Maybe TR wasn’t hyped to see the young Japanese Olympian finish outside the medals, but it’s hard to overlook the runs put down by Scotty Lago (Silver) and Louie Vito (Bronze). Impressing all weekend by entering four events (only athlete to do so)--while having his mouth pretty much held shut by elastic bands thanks to a recent jaw-shattering slam in the backcountry--Scotty was sending massive overhead spins and doubles in all three runs, his first setting the bar for all. Louie’s triple-doubles and final hit 1260 on his last run were good enough for third, his best-ever finish at Winter X Games.
Sitting in the recently unfamiliar position of having to come from behind to capture the Gold, Shaun stood up from the drop bench above the pipe, all eyes fixated on what was about to happen. Just like the scene in the Athlete tent during Slopestyle Prelims, every TM, media member, and rider went quiet as he dropped. Well, you know what happened next. The double 12 Whitesnake came out on the final hit, the judges awarded Shaun a lofty 97.33, and X Games Gold would once again go to Shaun White.
When asked later about coming back from his hiatus after the Vancouver Olympics, Shaun was quick to explain how he regained the motivation to win: “The more time I take away from the sport, the more excited I am to get back to it. …I wanted to be here. This is what I believe in.” Regarding his recent addition on non-endemic sponsors, such as BF Goodrich, has also played it well: “I have a lot of exciting new projects going on … [laughs] And I’m not afraid to make fun of myself.” Finally, when asked what would come next for the King of X, Shaun lit up: “After this, I wanna go hit jumps! More competitions, for sure. …I’m not done. Not in the slightest.”
Watching the Pipe Finals with Slopestyle Gold Medalist Sebastien Toutant, we asked him about Shaun’s dominant win. “It was great to have [Shaun] in the contest,” said Seb. “He had a tough time in slopestyle, but he’s still the best in Pipe. Congrats to Shaun, Scotty, and Vito!”
And that’s it! Winter X Games 15 has come to a close. Congratulations to Gold Medalists Lindsay Jacobellis (W’s Boardercross), Nick Baumgartner (Boardercross), Scotty Lago (Best Method), Torstein Horgmo (Big Air), Dan Brisse (Real Snow Video), Nic Sauve (Real Snow Rail Jam), Enni Rukajärvi (W’s Slopestyle), Sebastien Toutant (Slopestyle and Athlete of the Games), Kelly Clark (W’s Superpipe and W’s Athlete Of The Games), and Shaun White (Superpipe); and to all the riders in this year’s events--we out!