We've gone all in and will tell you, definitively, who will not win the Air & Style Beijing 2012. Oh, and we have links/info so you can watch the shindig live wherever you may be. If you're allergic to reading, you can get the links to watch the event right here.
Initially we were going to gaze into our crystalline balls and apply some of our dubious knowledge of stuntboarding to put our reputations on the line and predict who would win each heat and therefore, eventually, after much waffle, settle on our prediction for who would slip their knuckle through the Ring of Glory at the end of proceedings in Beijing today/tomorrow/towhereverthehellyouarereadingthisfrom.
Alas, the Lucky Losers format and the couple injuries (get well soon Werni)/no-shows have combined to throw a spanner in the works and knock something as clearly straightforward as regular contest snowboarding way over the fence and into the park of total unpredictability. Nevertheless we will offer you some predictions that you can take to the fucking BANK.
WHO WILL NOT WIN THE OAKLEY & SHAUN WHITE AIR & STYLE BEIJING - Shaun White.
WHO WE GUARANTEE WILL MAKE IT THROUGH ROUND 1 - Peetu Piiroinen and Yuki Kadono (Peetu automatically slips into round 2 as Nils Arvidsson was a late no-show, while Yuki was paired against Werni Stock who injured himself in training).
WHO WILL INSTAGRAM MOST FROM THE CONTEST - A close call between Mark McMorris, Marko Grilc and Ståle Sandbech, but we are backing Ståle to take this prestigious title home.
WHO SHOULD WIN BUT PROBABLY WON'T - Seppe Smits. This is reverse jinxing in practice. It's about time Seppe won a contest like this.
WHO WILL WIN THE OAKLEY & SHAUN WHITE AIR & STYLE BEIJING PRESENTED BY SHAUN WHITE AND OAKLEY - Oof. The biggie. 'Never bet against Peetu' is the smart man's mantra, but the Mighty Mute's not been quite so mighty over the last year or so. Hm. Ulrik Badertscher, equally, is hard to rule out following his epic win last year, while the likes of Ståle, Toutant, Sage and Grilo have already proved that they have the minerals for getting to the business end of contests such as this. Err. There's also a bunch of rookies who're stupidly talented and could very well pull off an upset, but the odds are pretty stacked against them in such a high pressure environment. And Seppe, c'mon dude, win this Ok? No, if push comes to shove we're gonna whack our non-existent Euro credits on Mark McMorris to win this, and he will win it with a backside triple cork 1440. How about that for a bold prediction? [Disclaimer: prediction may be neither bold or accurate.]
Now make sure you watch it all go down live from 12.30 pm CET to see how right we are about Shaun not winning. *backslaps all round* *cheers*