White equals Palmer with sixth gold medal
BUTTERMILK SKI AREA, Colo. – “One more to go.” Those were the first words out of Shaun White’s mouth after he made history by winning the Winter X Games snowboard superpipe gold medal Monday night in Aspen.
White tied another Shaun’s record with his sixth career Winter X gold medal (South Lake Tahoe’s Shaun Palmer won six boardercross titles), but this win had bigger implications. By landing a victorious run that included three 1080s, White kept alive his undefeated season entering February’s Winter Olympic halfpipe competition in Italy.
He is now unquestionably the favorite to win gold at those games.
“I’ve been just trying to have that perfect season I’ve always wanted, and so far, it’s going down,” White, 19, said in the corral at the bottom of the Buttermilk pipe. “Every contest I’ve entered I’ve done pretty good, you could say. And Torino’s up. Let’s do it.”
Eighteen-year-old Mason Aguirre took second after qualifying first on Sunday night, and Scotty Lago, also 18, nabbed third for his career-best result. On this night, however, the teen with the hidden face filled the sole starring role.
White posted the top three runs of the evening, winning the contest with his third-run score of 91.00.
The victory came two days after White completed a fourpeat in slopestyle a few yards away from Monday’s venue. This was his second career gold in the pipe, and the first since 2003 when he swept both competitions at 16.
The three-year drought got to him, especially after he finished off the podium in fourth last year.
“I felt like I was getting, you know, not to be weird, but I felt like I was getting old,” White said. “I was sitting there like, damn, man, gotta get another gold in the halfpipe. Tonight’s the night.”
U.S. Snowboarding head freestyle coach Bud Keene stood on the outskirts of the corral after the event, and smiled at his great White hope. “More than anything, we’re just psyched we’re going to be taking him to Italy 100 percent healthy,” Keene said, obviously relieved. “If he’s healthy, he can win.”
Aguirre’s runner-up result gave him an Olympic boost, too.
The Minnesota native will be joining White in Turin, along with Danny Kass and Andy Finch.
“All I wanted to do was get that first run,” Aguirre said, “so I was super happy with my outcome.”
X Games Nine superpipe champ Antti Autti finished sixth.
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