Shaun White is making a statement, and he's making it early. He has won his second major contest of the seasonand we're still in August.
Wednesday marked day five of the New Zealand Winter Games with the key event of the Games, the LG FIS World Cup halfpipe comp, set to go down. Although strong winds in Cardrona, Wanaka would delay the comp by several hours and force a cancellation of the semi-finals, the finals went forward with all 18 riders automatically advancing to compete in one super final.
White once again brought out his latest trick, the double cork cab 1080, to secure his first place finish. Several other riders tried to execute double corks in the competition, including fellow Americans Danny Davis and Scotty Lago, as well as Australian Nathan Johnstone, but none were able to stick them in the finals.
As for other riders that are doing the double cork 10, U.S. Snowboarding coach Bud Keene had this to say: "There's nobody out there doing it as big and as well, or as perfectly executed and as stylish [as Shaun]. He has total command of these new tricks and they're [judges] very impressed with that."
In the women's field, it was the rising star from China, Jiayu Liu, who beat out Kelly Clark for the top podium spot. Just last week, Clark had beat Liu at the Burton New Zealand Open and it was Liu who placed second. Not this time. Also in 2008 at the NZ Open, Liu had beaten Clark. It will be interesting to see how this competitive rivalry develops as we head into the Olympic year. Gretchen Bleiler placed third.
Watch a video report by New Zealand local 3 News here.
1. Shaun White, Carlsbad, CA, 47.1
White pulled a straight air, backside 900, frontside 720, cab double cork 1080, to a front 1080 in his first run, and a straight air, backside 500, frontside 720, cab double cork 1080, front double cork 1080 on his second run.
2. Iouri Podladtchikov, Switzerland, 44.4
3. Kazuhiro Kokubo, Japan, 43.2
4. Markus Malin, Finland, 42.1
5. Kohhei Kudoh, Japan, 40.7
1. Jiayu Liu, China, 44.1
Sixteen year-old Jiayu Liu of China secured her career's sixth World Cup victory with a Backside Air, Frontside 540 mute, Backside 540 mute and Back-to-back 720s.
2. Kelly Clark, Mt. Snow, VT, 40.5
3. Gretchen Bleiler, Aspen, CO, 37.1
4. Queralt Castellet, Spain, 35.3
5. Ellery Hollingsworth, Stratton, VT, 34.2