When X Games legend Shaun White hits the snow Sunday in the final event of the 16th installment of the annual games, the snowboard SuperPipe star will look to continue his dominance of the premier event in the sport.
White is a seven-time SuperPipe champion and has won the last five in a row, making him the most dominant performer in the history of the event and one of the most decorated X Games athletes in any sport.
Despite the stage being set for another year of domination for White, Swiss star and two-time runner-up Iouri Podladtchikov took the top spot in qualifying with a 87.33 score in his second run.
The second-place qualifying start to the finals has many fans and experts concerned about White’s ability to win his sixth straight gold medal in this event, but Podladtchikov told XGames.com that he knows the legend is holding back:
"He gave it to me. It's just qualifiers; it's never going to happen in finals. He just does it to make you media guys go crazy."
Podladtchikov is 100 percent correct about White holding most of his best tricks back for the finals, but it is abundantly clear from his run that the Swiss star that qualified first is also holding back.
Both White and Podladtchikov know that they will have to save their best tricks for the finals if they want to win the gold medal, so the fans should expect huge tricks that we haven’t seen yet during the X Games from both men.
Sunday’s event will be a slugfest for the top spot.
As great as Podladtchikov has become in the SuperPipe, this is White’s best event, and he is ready to show the world that he is far from being done as a winter sports athlete.
Add in the fact that the 2014 Winter Olympics are around the corner, and White wants to add another gold medal to his collection in hopes of earning his way back onto the United States team and defending his back-to-back gold-medal performances in the halfpipe.
White winning a gold medal to close X Games 16 would be the perfect way to start 2013 and the road to further domination at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.