It seems Shaun White didn’t have a great time of it yesterday at the Aspen X Games. First he came of worse in the battle with Mark McMorris for slopestyle, with a qualifying run that was frankly fairly average – at least by the elevated standards of today’s top competitive riders.
And then he failed to qualify first in the discipline he usually dominates – halfpipe.
Shaun sensibly threw down a ‘safe’ run first. It may have included two doubles (yep, that counts as a ‘safe’ run at this level) but it wasn’t enough to beat Iouri Podlatchikov’s score. Check it out here.
Weirdly though, rather than try and take back the lead with his second run (which would have given him the distinct advantage of dropping last in the finals) Shaun dropped in and rode down the middle of the pipe with his fist raised – as if he’d just won the whole thing.
Was he in fact trying to go for it and just cocked up, as the X Games commentator suggests in the video below? Or did he genuinely think he had nothing more to add? Perhaps he has something special up his sleeve and was keeping his powder dry?
Either way, claiming like that for a second place in qualifying is decidedly odd.
According to ESPN, Shaun grabbed his board and scarpered out of the pipe arena before anyone could interview him about his latest stunt.
But with Scotty Lago qualifying in third after his second run, and pint-sized prodigy Ayumu Hirano (who’s still only about 14!) also making it through, the final promises to be a good one. Especially as iPod is rumoured to be saving something special for it…
Here’s the full results – the top 8 qualify through to the finals. Click on the ‘play’ button by each of their names to watch their runs. Young Ayumu’s is well, well worth checking out!