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Shaun White Wins Gold – February 12, 2006

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Shaun White lived up to the hype and won the gold medal in The Half Pipe at the Winter Olympics in Turin, on February 12, 2006.

Less than two weeks before the Turin games, White had won gold medals in the Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado. He won in both Slopestyle and Superpipe. Winning those events was nothing new for him. He had won Slopestyle and Superpipe in three previous Winter X Games competitions.

By the the time he got to Turin the “Flying Tomato” (because of his long flowing red hair and big ears), in addition to being heavily favored to win the gold, had achieved almost cult status as the “coolest dude on the slopes.”

Competing in his first Olympics, White could only manage the seventh best run in the first round. But he notched the highest score in the second round and that got him into the finals. White took such a commanding lead after the first run of the final round, his win became almost a foregone conclusion. Of greater interest in the second run was whether his teammates Danny Kass and Mason Aguierre would join him on the podium as the silver and bronze medal winners. Kass did wind up winning the silver medal, but Aguirre fell to fourth place behind Markku Koski of Finland.

he gold-medal ride was emblematic of White’s grace — the way he glided over the snow, the way he held his board dramatically in midair, the way he bled consecutive 1080-degree spins into consecutive 900-degree spins, as if they were all part of the same move. The coach of the United States team, Bud Keene, said of White’s ride, “It’s like he was skating.” Read more NYTimes

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