The king cobra of snowboard disciplines, halfpipe riding, didn't open its box of mental trickery at last night's X Games in Aspen. Swiss rider Iouri 'I-Pod' Podladtchikov came in first while Shaun White effortless cruised to a second spot in qualifications.
Still, this is an unfamiliar position for Shaun White, who is used to winning his X Games Superpipe gold (five so far) from the top position in qualifications. It was Iouri Podladtchikov who claimed the latter with a one-third of a point lead.
And here's some extra weirdness thrown in from the Don't-call-me-Flying-Tomato. We quote straight from the ESPN website:
"White had a chance to reclaim the lead Thursday night but instead coasted down the pipe without hitting a jump, his fist raised high in the air. He left the venue before anyone had a chance to interview him."
And for the record, neither of the first two showed their full potential, something the antsy American public are eager to sea on Sunday night. White's run consisted of a 19-foot, 2-inch backside air and a frontside as well as cab double cork 1080s. Podladtchikov, too, said he was saving "a mystery trick" for Sunday. We. Can't. Wait.
Scotty Lago qualified third, and interestingly, 14-year-old Japanese phenom Ayumu Hirano also made the final in sixth.
Shaun White: Weird guy
X Games Men's Halfpipe Qualification Results
1 Iouri Podladtchikov 87.33 R
2 Shaun White 87.00 R
3 Scotty Lago 82.66 R
4 Markus Malin 81.00 R
5 Matt Ladley 80.00 R
6 Ayumu Hirano 78.66 R
7 Christian Haller 76.00 R
8 Louie Vito 74.66 R