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HomeEntertainmentWhite eyes curtain name as Kim preps for one more Olympic run

White eyes curtain name as Kim preps for one more Olympic run

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FILE - Shaun White, of the United States, is shown after his third run in the snowboarding halfpipe finals, Sunday, Dec. 19, 2021, during the Dew Tour at Copper Mountain, Colo. Shaun White is likely heading to the Olympics for a fifth time. For the first time, the snowboarding star and three-time gold medalist on the halfpipe won't be the favorite. (AP Photo/Hugh Carey, File)

FILE – Shaun White, of the US, is proven after his third run within the snowboarding halfpipe finals, Sunday, Dec. 19, 2021, in the course of the Dew Tour at Copper Mountain, Colo. Shaun White is probably going heading to the Olympics for a fifth time. For the primary time, the snowboarding star and three-time gold medalist on the halfpipe will not be the favourite. (AP Photograph/Hugh Carey, File)


The nicknames are retired. The mop of purple hair that after served as Shaun White’s signature look greater than a decade in the past is lengthy gone.

The torch the now 35-year-old snowboarding icon carried so capably for thus lengthy since his first gold-medal-winning run down the halfpipe in Torino 16 years in the past has been picked up by a sequence of newcomers who grew up watching him.

The group — led by two-time Japanese silver medalist Ayumu Hirano — will stand on the high of the pipe in Genting Snow Park seeking to do what’s solely been achieved as soon as within the final 4 Video games: stand atop the rostrum with White and the remainder of the game trying up.

For the primary time in his profession, White will head into the Olympics not as the favourite however the lion in winter attempting to summon the form of magic that is been laborious to return by since he returned for a three-year hiatus.

White didn’t lock up a spot on Crew USA till the ultimate days of qualifying and hasn’t stood atop the medal stand since that pressure-packed last with Hirano and Australia’s Scotty James in Pyeongchang, the place he collapsed into the arms of his mom Cathy after the medal ceremony, bodily and emotionally drained.

He is again for what is sort of definitely one final run, the place he’ll get an up-close have a look at a altering of the guard. The Japanese, led by Hirano and world champion Yuto Totsuka, have dominated the halfpipe with the form of boundary-pushing methods that was once White’s area.

Hirano grew to become the primary snowboarder to land a “triple cork” — three head-over-board flips — in competitors in December, the following logical step in development 4 years after White received gold by drilling consecutive double cork 1440s (4 twists). It is a step Hirano has made thanks largely to being pushed by Totsuka and youthful brother Kaishu.

“(The Japanese) have an awesome crew tradition,” mentioned Mike Jankowski, head coach of the U.S. Olympic snowboarding and freestyle snowboarding applications. “You see all of them day. They’re having enjoyable. They’re laughing. I imply, clearly, they’re fierce opponents they usually’re on the market to win. However they’re additionally the camaraderie that I see with them, it’s enjoyable.”

The more and more excessive risk-reward nature of the game provides a layer of uncertainty that the game’s marquee occasion has lacked.

A minimum of on the lads’s facet. Issues are a bit clearer on the ladies’s halfpipe, the place American Chloe Kim will look to bookend the gold medal she captured as a fresh-faced teenager in Korea 4 years in the past.

Whereas Kim understands the strain she is going to face in China as the one one within the competitors with an Olympic gold medal at house, she’s hardly out of her consolation zone. She got here to Korea as the game’s Subsequent Large Factor and left it as a champion whereas navigating a white-hot highlight courtesy of her precociousness and her Korean heritage.

By comparability, doing it once more looks as if no huge deal. If something, she’s come to embrace the stakes. It confirmed throughout a pre-Olympic occasion in December when she drilled the final of her three runs to edge Spain’s Queralt Castellet.

“It was bizarre although as a result of that third run was essentially the most calm I felt,” Kim mentioned. “It was actually an all-or-nothing feeling. I feel in these moments you get such as you get this serene sensation the place it is like simply going for broke, you recognize?”

Or in Kim’s case, going for gold.

Different issues to search for throughout a really busy three weeks in Zhangjiakou.

LINDSEY’S LONG RUN: American snowboardcross star Lindsey Jacobellis will make one last push to fill the one gap on her resume when the five-time world champion makes one other bid Olympic gold.

Jacobellis settled for silver in Torino in 2006 when she fell after grabbing her board in celebration as she soared over the ultimate leap and didn’t medal in Vancouver, Sochi or Pyeongchang. The 36-year-old way back made peace together with her late flub in Italy and is available in with a little bit of momentum after grabbing third in a World Cup occasion in Russia.

JAMIE’S JOURNEY: Three-time Olympic medalist Jamie Anderson will try to increase her reign atop ladies’s slopestyle when she vies for a 3rd gold to affix those she earned in Russia and Korea.

The 31-year-old Anderson, who landed a cab double cork 1080 for the primary time in competitors at Mammoth Mountain in January, believes she has but to succeed in her peak.

“I don’t really feel like I’ve actually reached my full potential but,” she mentioned.

RED ALERT: Pink Gerard did not anticipate to win gold in slopestyle in Korea as a wide-eyed 17-year-old in his first Olympics. It occurred anyway.

4 years later, Gerard will head to China as one of many favorites together with Canadians Seb Toussaint and Mark McMorris, amongst others. Now 21, Gerard is hoping his sport strikes away from the flips and twists which have come to outline it towards one thing extra inventive.

SECOND HELPING?: Ester Ledecka pulled off the most important stunner of the 2018 Olympics when the snowboarder from the Czech Republic beat a stacked area that included American star Lindsey Vonn i n the super-G alpine race.

Ledecka celebrated with some Kentucky Fried Hen then went out and captured the parallel large slalom on her snowboard just a few days later, turning into the third individual to win gold in several sports activities in the identical Winter Video games.

She’s a heavy favourite to repeat in PGS and will not come out of nowhere this time in super-G as she did in Korea. The 26-year-old completed tenth within the World Cup standings in 2020 and 2021.


AP Nationwide Author Eddie Pells contributed to this report.


Extra AP Winter Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/winter-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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