WEST VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Shaun White had the trick in the bag, along with an Olympic gold medal.
Might as well go for it, right? Putting on a show when he hardly needed to, White capped his sensational night on the
halfpipe with his signature move Wednesday - the dangerous, spiraling Double McTwist 1260 during a victory lap that
will go down as nothing short of epic.
The red-headed shredder scored a 48.4 on the final run, even though he already was assured of defending his Olympic
title with a score of 46.8 on his first trip. Getting ready to close the night, he debated with his coaches for a
minute, then made the decision.
Showtime! To the delight of cheering fans, he jerked his body around to milk the last half of the 3½ twists he crams
into two head-over-heels flips.
I just felt like I didn't come all the way to Vancouver not to pull out the big guns," White said.
It was an emphatic exclamation point on a spectacular day at the games for the Americans, who already had golds from
Alpine skier Lindsey Vonn and speedskater Shani Davis.
Wearing a blue bandanna with white stars, all of which goes perfect with the red hair, White easily outdistanced
Finland's Peetu Piiroinen.
It's impossible to beat Shaun unless he falls," Piiroinen said.
American Scotty Lago took bronze to give the United States multiple medals on the halfpipe for the last three
Olympics. Including the women, the U.S. halfpipe team has won 12 of the 21 medals awarded since the sport came to the
games in 1998.
White skipped the Double McTwist on the first run down the mountain, saying in an interview, I know I have it in me, but the Olympics is pretty heavy. I was sweating it a little."
But before Run 2, knowing he had won and celebrating at the top, he gathered himself and talked it over with the
coach. The conclusion: It is supposed to be about fun.
With a gold medal already in his pocket, Shaun went out and beat his winning score," said White's sponsor, Jake
Burton, the godfather of the sport. What a testament to how much fun snowboarding is. And what a true champion Shaun
White linked two double-flipping tricks - easier" versions of the signature move - then lost a little speed on the
fourth jump, the one that sets up the finale, but he went for the big trick anyway.
It wasn't exactly perfect. He had to really twist his body to get the last half twist, but he did it, landed on his
feet, and the party that already had started got even bigger.