While he ultimately wasn’t able to put down a run in the slopestyle that would better Mark McMorris’, (with Mark earning the highest ever score in slopestyle history we might add) Shaun White remains the undisputed champion of the Superpipe, once again wiping the floor to earn his sixth consecutive X-Games gold medal. Shaun’s first hit – a stratospheric 24ft backside air, saw him break his own amplitude record by a whole foot, and was just the beginning of a run that more or less mirrored the perfect scoring one he put down at last year’s event. Frontside double cork 1080, cab double cork 1080, massive frontside 540, double mctwist 1260 and frontside double cork 1260. It’s an insane run on paper, is remarkable to watch and is still going to take quite something to beat. Hate on Shaun all you like but there’s no denying that he is superhuman when it comes to pipe riding – you’ve just gotta give him credit for that.
Saying that, he does need to watch his back. Even though Shaun’s is still the very pinnacle of superpipe runs, it was 14 year old X-Games rookie Ayumu Hirano’s that impressed us most. Ayumu has grown up under the watchful eye of Sensei Kazuhiro Kokubo and it clearly shows in his riding. The kid is tiny and is yet still able to boost 18 foot backside airs and put together a run with back to back 1080s and a frontside double cork 1080. And did we mention that he’s 14 years old? Insane. Give him a chance to get a little more meat on his tiny frame and we could well be looking at a rider who could grow to dominate the event like Shaun has over the next to 5-10 years or so. Anyway, his run earned him a score of 92.33 and the silver medal. Fully deserved we reckon.
Dropping into the pipe for his second run sitting in last place at the time was Finnish ripper Markus Malin who had all to gain and nothing to loose. Markus stringed together a run that included back to back double corks and a double mctwist 1260 – pretty tech by anyone’s standards but it didn’t quite have the kind of top to bottom amplitude that Shaun’s and Ayumu’s runs did. Unfortunately, Iouri Podlatchikov, who actually qualified above Shaun White in the elimination stages, was absent from the finals owing to illness. Some people have been saying that they saw Shaun acting rather suspiciously around Ipod’s drink the previous night…
While there is definitely no truth in that last statement, feel free to spread it as you see fit, or y’know, don’t ;)