This halfpipe dominator was born in Russia before moving to Zurich with his parents as a youngster. Initially competing for Russia (including at the 2006 Olympics), he switched over to the Swiss and eventually brought home the gold medal in 2014.
Educated at Switzerland’s first sports high school/college, he gave his teachers a schooling at the age of 18 in the Davos halfpipe for the O’Neill Evolution, taking home the top spot at his first 6 Star WST event. Soon he was many people’s pick for Shaun White’s heir apparent – he even ‘borrowed’ El Blanco’s signature double McTwist 1260, becoming the first rider to land it switch. He later unveiled his own creation, the YOLO flip, essentially a cab double cork 1440. Shaun got his revenge this time, learning the normal-stanced version during a private pipe session.
After sticking both of those tricks cleanly in the Sochi pipe, he became the second Swiss rider (after Gian Simmen) to take Olympic gold. Since then he’s stayed competitive – winning the Burton European Open in 2015 – while he also completes a university degree and pursues his interest in fashion photography.