Shaun White: First SuperPipe three-peat
Twenty Years, 20 Firsts celebrates the 20-year legacy of the X Games in action sports with a collection of 20 of the most iconic first-trick moments in X Games history. Between March and X Games Austin (June 5-8), XGames.com will roll out the top 20 firsts, including moments such as Travis Pastrana's groundbreaking double backflip and Shaun White's perfect SuperPipe score, and the stories behind them. Now, fans can vote for their favorite moment.
The winter of 2010 will go down in snowboard history as the year of the double cork, with Shaun White leading the charge after holing up in a clandestine private halfpipe in Silverton, Colorado.
While all of his competitors worked to perfect double cork 1080s, whispers of what White had accomplished in Silverton -- including a previously unimaginable double cork McTwist 1260 -- loomed over the lead-up to both X Games Aspen 2010, where he was coming in looking for his third consecutive gold medal, and the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games, where he aimed to follow up on his gold medal from the 2006 Torino Winter Games.
The new trick helped White secure his spot on the U.S. Olympic team when he first landed it at the U.S. Grand Prix in Park City, Utah, and had him looking unbeatable as the rest of the season unfolded. But progress comes in fits and starts, and the McTwist 1260 nearly became White's undoing before it became his new signature trick. In January 2010, he had one of the worst crashes of his career during practice in the X Games pipe, smashing his face into the wall.
"I cracked my head pretty good," he told the Associated Press at the time. "I was pretty dazed after that one."
The crash, which left him bruised and bloodied, was just two weeks before his trip to the Olympics.
"I've paid my dues for that trick, but it's worth it," White said after his crash. "That trick is just a beast of its own, and on some days it's just tougher than others."
The McTwist is named for skateboard vert pioneer Mike McGill, the Bones Brigade skater who was the first to land the off-axis 540 spin back in 1984. Snowboard legend Terry Kidwell was the first to bring the McTwist to snow, and it's since become a classic trick in both sports.
McTwists have been a staple of White's halfpipe runs as both a skateboarder and snowboarder for most of his career; on a snowboard he's been known to throw them more than 20 feet above the lip. The double McTwist 1260 includes two flips and three and a half rotations.
After his crash at X Games practice in 2010, White got the trick dialed by the time finals rolled around. Landing it in competition -- an X Games first -- helped him land another historic feat as the first snowboarder to three-peat in the X Games SuperPipe.
"I was pumped to get it done, to land the trick, to take first tonight and to actually walk away from that plant and still be going to the Olympics," he said afterward.
He went on to win in Vancouver too, taking his second consecutive Olympic gold, and his reign at X Games would net him three more gold medals in the next three years -- bringing his consecutive total to six, then a Winter X Games record.