Did you see Shaun White's finals in the halfpipe last night? I hope so because it was insane. Ridiculous.
AP Photo of White flying in Vancouver 2010.
(Photo from Brisbane Times)
In the snowboarding halfpipe, they get two shots at it. He got the highest score in the first round and in the second round, he went last. By the time it was his turn to go again, he knew how everyone else had scored and that no one had been able to beat his score from the first round. So he knew before he did his second run that he had already won the gold medal.
He was standing up at the top of the run with his coaches, celebrating, and you could hear him whooping and talking because they had a microphone up there. He said, "I can't do this right now," meaning he was too excited to do his second run. He asked what should he do, should he just go straight down the middle or what, and one of his coaches told him to "knock the shit out of it." Once he'd gotten himself ready to go, that's exactly what he did. At the end of the second run, he did a new, but now-signature move of his called the Double McTwist, which is two head-over-heels flips plus 3.5 twists.
I wanted to find a video on YouTube of both runs for you, but I could only find the first one. It's been set to music, no commentary, but I think you'll see, even if you know nothing about the sport -- which I don't -- how pretty phenomenal it is. Then the video plays the same run over again in slow motion and it's there that you'll really get a sense of how high he flies above the edge of the wall. I'm guessing that's thirty feet? Ah, the Brisbane Times says 8 meters, which is just over 26 feet.
Nuts, I can't get it to load here. Here's the link to the video on YouTube. It may not be around for long.
You can also watch videos of both of his runs at the NBC Olympics page. It'll prompt you to download a mini-program called Silverlight and then you'll have to watch an ad, but you'll be able to see both runs and hear the commentary. At the end is an interview in which, among other things, he says hi to his dog Rambo.
I love how the announcers are just laughing at the end of his second run. I mean, it's nuts what he's able to do.
Congratulations, Shaun! Well-deserved!