Thursday, February 18, 2010

shaun white's halfpipe


Pushing the limits of snowboarding, Shaun
wins a medal of gold in Vancouver, while I
remembering the snows of my yesteryears, mourn
for the medals that seem to be passing me by.

If I were as young as Sean White I might know
how to win a gold medal by Double McTwisting,
and if I would fail I’d perhaps blame the snow,
not my laziness problem, all twists preexisting.

To win in the halfpipe you need to be weird;
they tell me I am, but corks that I double
come out of wine bottles. I wetten my beard
not on unmelted snow but on words that I bubble.

In the Vancouver Winter Olympics, Shaun White wanted to call his signature trick the Tomahawk after a steak he enjoyed in Aspen. It sounds much cooler than the Double McTwist 1260, which is as hard to get off the tongue sometimes as it may be to land. Or maybe the Double Eagle. Doesn’t matter what you call the trick, it is White’s to own. The American snowboarder and international celebrity captured the gold medal in men’s halfpipe with as impressive a performance as any since his 2006 victory in Turin. It was his second run in the final, when he landed the trick he had worked on in secret at a remote halfpipe in the Colorado mountains, that earned him a winning score of 48.4. But his first run of 46.8 would have been enough for gold…
The double cork has become the essential trick in snowboard competition. So much so, few riders in the final chose to go without it. Those who omitted it from their runs received little benefit; those who flubbed it can justify the risk. The judges clearly rewarded aggression on the first run. “I’m not satisfied. I just wanted t do everything I could do. I couldn’t do it aggressively enough.” …. Markus Malin completed only the first half of a back-to-back double cork attempt. And the trick proved to be Kazuhiro Kokubo’s undoing on his first run too. His Japanese compatriot Ryo Aono didn’t even attempt one, choosing instead to throw back-to-back 1080s. He made it through his run, but without the double cork, it was only worth a 32.9, only 2.4 more points than the more daring Kokubo and significantly less than either Lago or Vito. Peetu Piiroinen of Finland only threw one double cork, which paled in comparison to Louri Podladtchikov’s stellar back-to-back double corks. None of them could touch Shaun White: massive air; back-to-back double corks; a backside cab 1080 to close. His 46.8 is close to unbeatable, unless he tries to beat himself. Double McTwist 1260, perhaps?


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