Not content with being the richest, most famous and successful snowboarder on the planet, Shaun White has set his sights on total domination of the action sports market. Earlier this summer came the teaser for a new skateboard video game and yesterday saw him competing for glory in the 2010 summer X-Games vert contest.
What bugs many skaters about Shaun is that, to quote Sidewalk editor Ben Powell, “he hasn’t paid his dues.” Instead of coming through the ranks with the other sweaty concrete rats, he’s made his name in a rich man’s sport before turning his hand to his other hobby. As such he is something of an outsider in the skate world – unloved by his peers but adored by the moms and kids that pack out the X-games crowd.
Not for nothing, though, did Tony Hawk pick Shaun White out from a young age as the future of vert. His airtime, comfort when spinning and most importantly, consistency (all honed on snow) make him a breath of fresh air in a skate discipline that is dominated by old timers and which generally plays second fiddle to street. Gold for a second time at the summer X-Games would doubtless have elevated White to god-like status.
Unfortunately for Shaun (and his career management team) the event didn’t quite play out according to the script. Instead, Canadian Luc Gagnon pushed him into second place with a run that made the most of his skate background.
“The fact is that Gagnon is simply a more technical skater skater than White and his runs were consistently more difficult,” reports the ESPN website. “Casual fans may not necessarily appreciate that Gagnon’s runs, which included 720s into a kickflip body varial 540, are superior to White’s easy-to-grasp, spin-filled runs. White’s consistent and has plenty of 720 rodeos and 540 variations on lock, but he doesn’t flip the board nearly as much as Gagnon.”
Update: We just noticed the slow-mo replay of Shaun’s heelflip 540 varial – it’s in the corner of the screen during Luc Gagnon’s run. Sooo sick! Was he robbed?