Star-spangled blunder for White in the halfpipe

  • Article by: RACHEL BLOUNT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 12, 2014 - 7:34 AM

– There weren’t many original moves in his celebration, but Iouri Podladtchikov’s improvised mashup still seemed utterly unique. The Russian-born Swiss snowboarder put down the run of his life in the Olympic halfpipe Tuesday night, then spiked his board, did a belly flop in the snow, crowd-dived into a group of course workers and mugged for the cameras.

The man known as I-Pod to his fans and fellow riders — and now, to the world — had much more success with his mimicry than Shaun White did with his. White hoped to capture a third Olympic gold medal with his own spin on the Yolo, a trick Podladtchikov created. While White faltered, the originator showed how it was done.

Podladtchikov’s soaring, spinning thrill ride won the Olympic gold, leaving White without a slice of history and the Americans without a medal. The king of the halfpipe was deposed when he fell twice on his first run and bobbled two landings on his second. Podladtchikov won with a score of 94.75, with Japanese riders Ayumu Hirano (93.50) and Taku Hiraoka (92.25) taking silver and bronze.

White’s second-run score of 90.25 put him in fourth place. It marked the first time since halfpipe joined the Olympic program in 1998 that an American did not medal. It also derailed White’s attempt to become the first U.S. man to win three consecutive gold medals in an individual sport at the Winter Olympics.

“Everything came together exactly the way I planned it,” said Podladtchikov, who added that it felt “weird” to see his name atop the standings rather than White’s. “The run, it really felt like it was all meant to be.

“When I saw videos of Shaun doing [the Yolo] really well, I felt kind of bummed. I thought, ‘Damn. This is my trick, and he’s already doing it better than me.’ Today, I guess I was doing it a little bit better.”

White tried to downplay the loss. But he also said he needs to “take a little break” from snowboarding and refocus, and he announced he will go on tour with his band Bad Things.

“I don’t think tonight makes or breaks my career,” said White, who has been the face of his sport and a worldwide celebrity since his first Olympic gold in 2006. “I’m happy to take this for what it is and continue to ride and put my best foot forward.

“I had a game plan, I had a specific run I wanted to land, and I didn’t get to put it down. That’s one of the most frustrating things. If I get to land my run and I get beat, I’m OK with that, but it didn’t work out that way.”

There was no animosity between the two boarders, before or after Tuesday’s competition at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park. Each spoke glowingly of the other, and it was clear they are kindred spirits in their desire to push the boundaries of a sport that is constantly erasing them.

The Yolo includes two flips and four rotations. White, who practices in secrecy in a private halfpipe his sponsors built for him, picked up the trick and perfected it. He breezed through Tuesday’s qualifying round, topping the standings with a score of 95.75 and promising “a whole brand-new run” for the finals.

Athletes had criticized the slushy, bumpy condition of the Rosa Khutor halfpipe since training began, and crews worked overnight to help improve it. The finalists said it was much better Tuesday, but U.S. riders Danny Davis and Greg Bretz crashed out of both their runs. Davis finished 10th and Bretz 12th.

Podladtchikov, 25, scored an 86.50 on his first run and finished with his fists raised in the air. His second was more spectacular, as was his celebration. He said he had never been in a competition that White did not win.

It was a hard fall for the U.S., which had won eight of the 12 Olympic medals awarded in halfpipe before Tuesday. “We let America down,” Davis said. “Sorry, America.”

But Davis also thought that White’s loss would benefit the sport. Podladtchikov’s Twitter handle is @iouriamazing, and Davis expects the Olympic gold will show those skills to a much wider audience.

“Iouri shined tonight,” he said. “I think it’s great. More of the American public and the world now know that there are other snowboarders besides Shaun White.”


  • related content

  • Photo gallery: A surprise in the halfpipe

    Wednesday February 12, 2014

    Favorite Shaun White of the U.S. finished in fourth place at the men's snowboard halfpipe finals in the 2014...

  • Scoggins: Cross-country medal favorite Randall, others falter

    Wednesday February 12, 2014

    The women’s cross-country team entered these Olympics with unprecedented buzz and optimism. But as they learned again Tuesday, that maiden medal won’t just be handed to them.

  • Wednesday's Olympic events schedule

    Tuesday February 11, 2014

    Here's what's happening Wednesday at the Winter Olympics

  • Shaun White waited to hear his score after his final run. Shaun White (Carlsbad, Calif.) placed fourth in the men's snowboard halfpipe Tuesday evening at the Sanki Sliding Center in Sochi's Mountain Cluster. After falling on his first run, White scored a 90.25 on his second, but it wash's enough to earn him a podium spot. The gold medal went to Switzerland's Iouri Podladtchikov, who received a 94.75. Japan took the silver and bronze as Ayumu Hirano claimed the silver with a 93.50 and Taku Hirano won the bronze with a 92.25....

  • Shaun White struggled during both of his halfpipe runs and couldn’t capture a third consecutive gold medal in the event.

  • American Shaun White placed fourth in the men’s snowboard halfpipe Tuesday evening at the Sanki Sliding Center in Sochi’s Mountain Cluster. After falling on his first run, White scored a 90.25 on his second, but it wasn’t enough to medal.

  • Switzerland’s Iouri Podladtchikov, the surprise gold medalist, said he’d never been in a snowboard competition that Shaun White hadn’t won.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


New England 14 FINAL
Kansas City 41
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Philadelphia 3 FINAL
NY Rangers 6
Toronto 0 FINAL
Detroit 3
Pittsburgh 1 FINAL
Minnesota 4
Columbus 3 FINAL
Nashville 0
Florida 4 FINAL
Dallas 5
Winnipeg 1 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Arizona 4 FINAL
Vancouver 2
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM


Golden Gavel by Star Tribune

Time left for great deals

Bid thru Sept. 29




question of the day

Poll: Is it the right move to replace Ron Gardenhire?

Weekly Question


Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters