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The 2012 Winter X Games have ended, but some memories will live on forever. Sure, Shaun White's perfect score in his third run of the SuperPipe during a gold-medal performance was nice, but Colten Moore really turned some heads when he (safely) flew off the handlebars of his snowmobile and flailed his way back down to Earth.
Jon Bois of SB Nation has sorted through the best sports moments from the month of January, and Moore's busted trick earned him a spot as the sixth-best animated GIF moment of the month.
Here's a look at the carnage:
Bois adds in some great commentary too, playing off the theme of reliving the events through faux Wikipedia entries:
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This Wikipedia page may require cleanup, as it appears to have been written while the author was flailing his limbs in futile terror while falling from the sky.
this[capitalization?] is gonna be great! I got m'snowmobile helmet an' m'snowmobile outfit an' m'snowmobile an' everything! gonna ride m'snowmobile up this ol' hill an' really give these folks a show! all these folks 'cross th'country are gonna see m'neat snowmobile tricks too! gee whiz!
now i'm gonna do m'neat snowmobile trick! just gotta grab th'back o' thAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH
If you would like to see more amazing sports moments like this, be sure to check out the full list of top animated GIFs here:
Shaun White proved once again why he is the best competitor in the Men's Snowboard SuperPipe event at the Winter X Games. He captured his fifth straight gold in SuperPipe (and third to be a five-peater in any competition at the Games) and his seventh overall in the event by pulling off a perfect score of 100 on his third run.
White was getting some serious air on this run. As you can see in the video, White pulled off a 18-foot backside air, a 17.5-foot frontside double cork 1080, a 11-foot-8 switch frontside double cork 1080, a 14-foot frontside cork 540, a 13-foot-3 backside double cork 1260 and then a 12-foot-9 frontside double cork 1260 to finish it all off. It can't get any better than that.
White pulled out a 94.00 run on his first time through the pipe during the finals. He was getting some sick air on this run, usually around 15 feet above the blue line. He wiped out on his second run, though.
Remember, White did this on a bad ankle, which he injured on Thursday during practice. He then planned on competing in snowboard slopestyle, but practicing on Friday didn't help the ankle. He pulled out of that event to rest up for the SuperPipe.
Iouri Podladtchikov came in second with a 93.00 score while Ryo Aono finished in third place with an 86.
In the finals of the 2012 Winter X Games Best Snowmobile Trick event, Justin Hoyer attempted a double backflip on his first run of the night, but it didn't turn out well.
Hoyer made a couple of approaches to the ramp before he finally decided to give it his all. And it was close as you can see in the video. But he didn't have near enough speed and he had his snowmobile crash head first into the ground before the second flip could be completed.
Hoyer did get up and walk around a bit before he realized that his right arm was injured and flying in the open air.
Levi LaVallee tried the same trick in 2009, but he did land it completely as he came off his sled on the landing. He, however, came away without injury.
After missing out on the Slopestyle competition because of an injury suffered in practice, many fans were wondering if Shaun White would be able to compete for his fifth consecutive gold medal in the Superpipe competition. However, White was able to put any concerns about his health to rest, as he had the highest score of the elimination round and was one of eight to advance to the finals of the event that he has dominated the past four years.
White will be joined in the finals by Luke Mitrani, Ryo Aono, Matt Ladley, Greg Bretz, Iouri Podladtchikov, Louie Vito and Christian Haller. White is the most decorated athlete in Winter X Games history, having won 16 medals, with 11 of those being gold. If White is able to earn the gold medal, it would be his seventh overall in the Superpipe, as he also won gold in 2003 and 2006.
The 2012 Winter X Games will come to an end on Sunday night, and the premiere event of the Games takes center stage as the last event of the day. Men's Snowboard SuperPipe begins in the middle of the day with the elimination round, but the finals will start at 7:45 p.m. MT. Shaun White will look to capture his fifth straight gold medal in the event. He will have a bit of adversity to overcome as he is battling an ankle injury. He sat out Snowboard Slopestyle to rest up his ankle in order to give his all to this ultimate event.
But White will be challenged by the likes of Scotty Lago, Louie Vito, Jack and Luke Mitrani, Iouri Podladtchikov and many more.
Other events on the day include: Men's and Women's Skier X Final, Women's Snowboard Slopestyle Final, Mono Skier X Final, Snowboard Street Final and Snowmobile Best Trick Final.
Here is the complete schedule for Sunday:
|12:00 p.m||Men's & Women's Skier X Final (Medal)||ESPN/3/3D|
|12:15 PM||Men's Snowboard SuperPipe Elimination||ESPN/3/3D|
|2:15 PM||Women's Snowboard Slopestyle Final (Medal)||ESPN/3/3D|
|2:45 PM||Mono Skier X Final (Medal)||ESPN/3/3D|
|3:15 PM||Snowboard Street Final (Medal)||ESPN/3/3D|
|7:00 PM||Snowmobile Best Trick Final (Medal)||ESPN/3/3D|
|7:45 PM||Men's Snowboard SuperPipe Final (Medal)||ESPN/3/3D|
The 2012 Winter X Games continued on Saturday and saw some exciting finishes in Men's Snowboard Slopestyle and Men's Ski Big Air. In the former, Mark McMorris captured his second gold medal of the Games after winning Snowboard Big Air on Friday night. This was also the first time since 2009 that an X Games competitor won two gold medals in one game -- the last being Shaun White, who pulled out of this event due to an injured ankle.
McMorris secured the victory with this 93.00 run:
This is an almost near-perfect run that sees McMorris increasingly improving the difficulty of his maneuvers while being almost completely spot on with his landings. It was a pretty decisive run as no one else came within five points of him. McMorris did have a 90.00 on his first run for the second best score of the final round. Sage Kotsenburg and Peetu Piiroinen finished in second and third places with scores of 88.00 and 86.00, respectively.
In Ski Big Air, Bobby Brown captured gold with a combined score of 88.00 (two 44.00 scores) to beat out Kai Mahler (84.0) and Jossi Wells (83.0).
Day 3 of the 2012 Winter X Games will feature five more medal events over Saturday afternoon and night. On Friday night, the Winter X Games saw Kelly Clark land a 1080 for a second time to capture gold in back-to-back years on the SuperPipe, an X Games first in the women's division. Torstein Horgmo scored a perfect 50 on his final run of the day in Men's snowboard big air, but that was not enough to win gold. Mark McMorris' total score edged Horgmo out by four points.
On tap for Saturday, women's ski SuperPipe final starts the day off and is later followed by men's ski SuperPipe. Men's and Women's Snowboarder X final is the middle event of the day while men's snowboard slopestyle elimination will follow. The day closes with the snowboard slopestyle final and the ski big air final.
Shaun White will not be participating in the snowboard slopestyle event as he is resting his injured ankle for Sunday's snowboard SuperPipe.
|11:00 AM||Women's Ski SuperPipe Final (Medal)||ESPN3/3D|
|12:00 PM||XCast: Winter X Games Live||Xgames.com|
|12:00 PM||Real Snow||ESPN2/3/3D|
|12:30 PM||Men's Ski SuperPipe Final (Medal)||ESPN2/3/3D|
|2:00 PM||Men's & Women's Snowboarder X Final (Medal)||ABC/ESPN3D|
|2:15 PM||Men's Snowboard Slopestyle Elimination||ABC/ESPN3D|
|5:00 PM||Mono Skier X Elimination||Xgames.com|
|7:00 PM||XCast: Winter X Games Live||Xgames.com|
|7:00 PM||Men's Snowboard Slopestyle Final (Medal)||ESPN/3/3D|
|7:30 PM||Ski Big Air Final (Medal)||ESPN/3/3D|
Kelly Clark captured gold in the Women's SuperPipe Finals at the 2012 Winter X Games in Aspen, CO. This was her fourth gold medal at the Winter X Games and her first back-to-back gold medals in the event. In fact, she made history by becoming the first back-to-back gold medal winner in Women's SuperPipe. Clark had a high score of 93.66 on her final run of the day, but it was her second run that actually secured the victory for her. She landed a frontside 1080 on that run. Let's take a look at it:
She gets great air on the uptake and then shows great body control to perform the three 360-degree turns. Then she lands near perfectly to complete just the second 1080 in the Women's SuperPipe. Clark had the first one last year in her gold medal run. By completing moves like that, Clark has now been able to win gold in 13 straight events.
Elena Height took second place while Hannah Teter came in third. Gretchen Bleiler did not medal, but she did take fourth with a 65. Here are the complete results of the three medalists:
|Rank||Name||Run 1||Run 2||Run 3||Best|
After Shaun White hurt his ankle during practice on Thursday, it appeared that he would still be ready to go on Friday for the snowboard slopestyle elimination round at the 2012 Winter X Games. However, that turned out to not be the case on Friday. White pulled out of the competition in order to rest up for Sunday's Snowboard SuperPipe event, reports the Denver Post.
White had been looking to get back into position to win a medal in the slopestyle competition. He placed 13th overall in 2011 and last won gold in 2009 (he took 2010 off to concentrate on the SuperPipe). He had won gold four straight years in slopestyle from 2003-2006 as well.
Men's SuperPipe Elimination round and Medal round take place on Sunday, the last day of competition. White is looking to win an unprecedented fifth straight gold medal on the SuperPipe.
The 2012 Winter X Games resume on Friday with another day of exciting action. Four gold medals were awarded on Thursday with Forrest Bailey winning Snowboard Street, Kaya Turski nailing a switch 1080 for women's ski slopestyle, Colten Moore impressively capturing first in snowmobile freestyle and Tom Wallisch setting a record in men's ski slopestyle.
On Day 2, we'll have competitions in men's snowboard slopestyle elimination, women's snowboard slopestyle final, men's ski superpipe elimination, snowboard big air final and women's snowboard superpipe final. The latter event is the highlight of the day with Kelly Clark looking to repeat her gold medal performance from 2011. She nailed a 1080, the first woman to do so, on her way to the gold. Gretchen Bleiler will look to rebound from her sixth place finish while Kaitlyn Farrington is also looking to improve after last year's silver medal performance.
Here is tomorrow's schedule of events:
|10:30 AM||Men's Snowboard Slopestyle Elimination||ESPN 3/3D|
|1:30 PM||Women's Snowboard Slopestyle Final (Medal)||ESPN 3/3D|
|6:30 PM||Men's Ski SuperPipe Elimination||ESPN 3/3D|
|8:30 PM||XCast: Winter X Games Live||XGames.com|
|8:30 PM||Snowboard Big Air Final (Medal)||ESPN/3/3D|
|8:45 PM||Women's Snowboard SuperPipe Final (Medal)||ESPN/3/3D|
Tom Wallisch picked up his first gold medal at the Winter X Games by making history during the men's slopestyle final on Thursday night. He scored a 96,00 on his third and final run of the night, holding off the 17-year-old Nick Goepper. That 96.00 was the best run in the history of the competition. Here is Wallisch's final run:
Wallisch began his third run like he did his other two by skiing across the 14-foot-tall Red Bull sign. He successfully did it on this try and his first, while almost falling off during the second run. He then ran through and impressive array of regular and switch tricks to secure the record-winning run. This was a near-perfect run with his landings barely missing a beat. It will likely take some more years before any one is able to beat a 96.00 score.
Nick Goepper, the 17-year-old rookie, took a lead in the second run that looked as though it was impossible to overcome, scoring a 94.66. However, he wound up finishing second. Andreas Håtvei took bronze with a 92.00 on his final run.
The 2012 Winter X Games crowned Colten Moore its snowmobile freestyle gold medalist on Thursday night. Moore advanced to the final round along with his brother Caleb Moore, Joe Parson and Heath Frisby. On his first run, Colten scored a 92.66 and was in first place at the end of the first heat. He then outdid himself with his second run, capturing a score of 93.66. Check it out:
No one else came close on a second run to challenge Colten's score. That's largely a result of the crazy flips Colten was able to do in mid-air while hanging in front of his snowmobile. Luckily, he was able to hold on to during all of his run this time around. Joe Parsons scored 90.66 on his first run but had just an 89.00 on his second. Caleb put up an 86 and scoring 87 on his first run. Heath Frisby improved on his second run from an 80 to an 82.66.
Moore picked up his first medal at the Winter X Games and he celebrated his gold in style:
#Tebowing! It was the only way he could think of celebrating his victory, and, of course, he is in the state where Tim Tebow plays football.
Snowboarder Shaun White was injured while practicing on the superpipe on Thursday, but according to his manager, White does not plan on missing Friday's slopestyle competition:
His manager Crystal Garrett said later in the afternoon that White was not injured and he still plans to compete in slopestyle and superpipe.
"He will be up bright and early for training tomorrow," Garrett said.
White has won the last four superpipe competitions at the Winter X Games.
The 2012 Winter X Games gave out its first gold medal to Kaya Turski in the women's ski stopestyle on Thursday afternoon. The men ran the ski slopestyle elimination round earlier in the day and Nick Goepper took first place with this run:
Goepper starts with a switch double and eventually goes on to include a double cork 1260 followed by a high mute grab and adds a double cork mute grab that ends with agrab. He lands perfectly and receives a 93.33 score on his first run, which was the best run of the day in the elimination round by one full point.
At 17, Goepper is the only rookie and the youngest competitor in the field.
|Rank||Name||Run 1||Run 2||Run 3||Best|
The 2012 Winter X Games gave out its first gold medal of the events. On Thursday afternoon, Kaya Turski landed the first switch 1080 on the Ski Slopestyle course to capture the gold medal with a score of 95. Check it out below:
Turski approaches the jump backward for the switch and pulls off the three 360-degree spins before landing. The landing looks a bit shaky ash Turski's hands scrape through the snow, but she is able to maintain her balance and successfully complete the switch 1080 trick.
This is Turski's third straight gold medal at slopestyle and her fourth medal overall. She took bronze in 2009.
|RANK||NAME||RUN 1||RUN 2||RUN 3||BEST|
The men's ski slope style elimination took place earlier in the day and will have its medal round on Thursday night. ESPN will broadcast that and snowmobile at 7:00 p.m. MT.
For more updates, news and stories concerning the 2012 Winter X Games, stay tuned to SB Nation Denver.
The 2012 Winter X Games are under way on Thursday afternoon and we're already into the medal round for the Women's Ski Slopestyle. Kim Lamarre, a 23-year-old from Lac-Beauport QB, Canada, took fifth place in Ski Slopestyle in 2011and was looking to improve on that in 2012, but she crashed during a run in the medal round:
As she makes her jump, Lamarre launches into 180-spin, but as she attempts to land she doesn't come down solidly and crashes. She was able to get up from that with no problems and continue on for another run later. However, she also crashed on her other attempt.
Kaya Turski won gold in the 2011 Ski Slopestyle event.
For more updates, news and stories concerning the 2012 Winter X Games, stay tuned to SB Nation Denver.
Snowboarder Shaun White injured his left ankle during a practice run on Thursday afternoon, reports the Denver Post's David Krause. The Post reports that the extent of his injury is not yet know, but that he was limping and had to talk with the medical staff before going to the medical tent.
Men's Snowboard SuperPipe takes place on Sunday, Jan. 29, with the elimination round starting at 12:15 p.m. MT and then resuming at 7:45 p.m. MT for the medal round. Both events can be seen on ESPN, ESPN3 or ESPN 3D. Shaun White is looking to win his fifth straight gold medal at the Winter X Games.
While the future of the Winter X Games at Buttermilk Mountain in Aspen, CO, is still up in the air, ESPN has announced nine cities as finalist for three future X Games events that start in 2015. Those cities are Santiago (Chile), Munich (Germany), Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Foz do Iguacu (Brazil), Whistler (British Columbia), Barcelona (Spain), Lisbon (Portugal) and Quintana Roo (Mexico).
The current X Games set up is in Aspen for the Winter X Games, Los Angeles for the X Games and Tignes, Francise, for the European Winter Games. The winners will be announced in April and join these three host cities (though Aspen could be out by that time).
Whistler hosted many skiing events during the 2010 Winter Olympics. Mumich hosted the Summer Olympics in 1972 while Rio will host the Summer Olympics in 2016.
The 2012 Winter X Games at Buttermilk Mountain in Aspen, CO, kick off on Thursday with a strong slate of competitions, including three medal events. The competition begins early in the day with the elimination round of the Men's Ski Slopestyle at 10:30 am MT and the medal round will conclude the day's events during ESPN's broadcast. Sammy Carlson took home first place in Snowmobile Freestyle last year.
Also on the schedule for the medal events are Women's Ski Slopestyle and the Snowmobile Freestyle. The latter will be part of ESPN's broadcast that begins at 7:00 p.m. MT. It will also be shown on ESPN 3D and ESPN3.com. Kaya Turski is the defending gold medalist in Women's Ski Slopestyle while Snowmobile Freestyle winner Daniel Bodin is out. Silver medalist Justin Hoyer is in the comepetition.
All of Thursday's Winter X Games 16 events will be shown on ESPN3.com and ESPN 3D before the primetime showing of the two medal events.
Here is the complete schedule:
|Thursday, Jan. 26|
|10:30 AM||Men's Ski Slopestyle Elimination||ESPN 3/3D|
|1:30 PM||Women's Ski Slopestyle Final (Medal)||ESPN 3/3D|
|2:30 PM||Snowboard Street Elimination||ESPN 3/3D|
|7:00 PM||XCast: Winter X Games Live||XGames.com|
|7:00 PM||Snowmobile Freestyle Final (Medal)||ESPN/3/3D|
|7:45 PM||Men's Ski Slopestyle Final (Medal)||ESPN/3/3D|
American snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis tore the ACL in her left knee while practicing for the 2012 Winter X Games on Wednesday, according to ESPN's Colin Bane. The 26-year-old crashed on the final landing of the Snowboarder X course at Buttermilk Mountain in Aspen, Colorado.
Medical staff at the games confirmed to the media that Jacobellis will not participate in the qualifying event, preventing her from competing. She could have become the first female athlete in Winter X Games history to claim five consecutive gold medals after winning the event each year from 2008 to 2011.
It's an unfortunate situation for one of the sport's best female athletes. Among the snowboarders that are expected to compete for gold at the Snowboarder X event include Canada's Maelle Ricker, France's Deborah Anthonioz and Alaska's Callan Chythlook-Sifsof.
Kaitlyn Farrington bested many of the top female snowboards in the 2011 Winter X Games to take the silver medal. Kelly Clark took the gold medal at last year's games, which leaves plenty of incentive for Farrington to redouble her effort this year. It was her first medal after failing to pick one up in her first three years at the Games, finishing fifth and in eight twice.
The 22-year-old native of Sun Valley, ID, has previously won gold in other competitive events, including overall standings in halfpipe on the Winter Dew Tour and in individual competitions at the West Dover and Copper Mountain.
Farrington's silver medal at last year's Winter X Games saw her accomplish a backside 900 and an inverted alley oop on this run. What will she have ready for 2012?
The 2012 Winter X Games are just around the corner with Buttermilk Mountain filling with the world's top winter athletes. One such athlete to pay close attention to is the young Icelandic snowboarder Halldor Helgason.
Helgason enters the 2012 X Games with a gold metal already in his trophy case, the 21-year-old snowboarder having won the Winter X Big Air competition in 2010. He has also placed in the top 10 of the Winter X Big Air and Slopestyle competitions for the last two years.
In addition to sliding on snow, Halldor also does his fair share of grinding on metal, placing first in the 2010 Gothenburg Rail Battler in Sweeden.
Halldor also participates with his brother, Eiki Helgason, in producing content and movies for their snowboarding blog/vlog Helgason.com, including this entry in the Real Snow video contest for ESPN:
Jamie Anderson is one of the most accomplished snowboarders on the circuit, and she's had some great success at the X Games in the past -- she has won five medals -- but she hasn't taken home the gold in the Slopestyle event since 2008. Last year she finished in third place, and the competition will be stiff again in 2012.
But the field of slopestyle competitors has grown stronger and deeper than ever. No longer is it just Anderson's game. Heavier tricks have become stock for all riders, and 720s, switch backside spins, and rodeos are all par for the course. Winter X Aspen 2012 will surely see the best women's snowboarding we'll see to date.
She'll be up against Enni Rukajarvi and Jenny Jones, the two snowboarders who finished ahead of her in 2011. But Anderson comes into the 2012 X Games hot -- she's won three competitions already this year.
Norwegian Snowboarder Tortstein Horgmo is a top talent that will be competing in the Big Air and Men's Slopestyle during the 2012 Winter X Games in Aspen, CO. Back in May of 2010 he became the first person to land a triple cork when he did so in Norway, and then he repeated his performance at Winter X Game 15 in 2011 on his way to a gold medal in the Big Air competition.
The 24 year old stands 5 feet 8 and has also won three other X Games medals in the Big Air competition during his career -- Gold in 2011 and Silver medals in 2010 and 2009.
As one of top Slopestyle competitors in the world, Jenny Jones will certainly be hoping to pick up her third gold medal in the past four years when the 2012 Winter X Games begin in Aspen. After winning gold in 2009 and 2010, Jones saw her streak come to an end in 2011 when she had to settle for the silver medal.
Jones began her career in her native England, where she finished in first place in two consecutive Slopestyle competitions at the British Championships. Jones also had great success in the Big Air competition, finishing in first place in 2005 and 2006 at the same event. Along with her three medals at the Winter X Games, Jones also won a gold medal in 2010 at the Winter X Games Europe in the Slopestyle event.
Canadian snowboarder Sébastien Toutant finished number one overall in Snowboard Slope Style and number two in Snowboard Big Air at the 2011 Winter X Games, and will be looking to repeat his gold-medal performance in Snowboard Slope Style in 2012. The 19-year-old became only only the third person ever to land a triple cork backside 1440 at last year's games, so there is no doubt all eyes will be focused on him once again in Aspen.
Known on the slopes as Seb Toots, the 5 feet 7, 145 pound boarder has earned a reputation as talented performer and intense competitor. It remains to be seen whether he can improve upon his very impressive rookie performance, but he is certainly worth watching when the games begin.
Over the past eight years, few individuals have dominated the snowboarding world like Lindsey Jacobellis. The Stratton, VT, native has won nine medals since 2003, seven of which have been gold. Jacobellis has completely dominated the Snowboard Cross competition, winning seven gold medals since 2003. Jacobellis has won the gold in the Snowboard Cross competition each of the last four years and is the favorite heading into the 2012 Winter X Games.
Jacobellis is perhaps best known for her Silver Medal in the Snowboard Cross at the 2006 Winter Olympics. With the gold medal seemingly wrapped up, Jacobellis attempted to do a trick on the final jump of the competition. Unfortunately, she fell while attempting the move and saw Tanja Frieden pass her before the finish line. Although it took her some time to get back to the top of the sport, Jacobellis found her consistency again, winning the first of four straight gold medals at the X Games in 2008.
Over the past couple of years, Torah Bright has established herself as one of the elite snowboarders in the world. In 2009 and 2010, Bright put her talents on display, earning a gold medal at the 2009 Winter X Games in Superpipe and a gold medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics in the Halfpipe competition.
Prior to 2010, Bright had won medals at four straight Winter X Games competitions. Bright won her first medal in 2006, when she earned a silver medal in the Superpipe competition. After earning that initial medal, Bright reached the pinnacle of the sport in 2007, as she earned the first X Games gold medal of her career. Since those two medals, Bright has proven to be one of the elite competitors in the world, earning a silver medal in 2008 and her second career gold medal in 2009.
When the 2012 Winter X Games kick off in Aspen, there is little question that Kelly Clark will be one of the favorites in the Superpipe competition. The Dover, Vermont native has won six medals in the Superpipe competition, including two gold medals. Clark won gold at the 2011 Winter X Games after earning the Bronze medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics in the Halfpipe competition.
Clark has been a consistent force in the Superpipe competition, winning medals in each of the past four years. Along with her gold medal in 2011, Clark won silver in 2009 and 2010, while she won a bronze medal in 2008. Clark has been one of the elite snowboarders since she began competing in 1999. Clark made her mark on the snowboarding world after winning a gold medal in the 2002 Olympics in the Halfpipe competition.
Gretchen Bleiler is no stranger to Aspen, CO, as she's the hometown girl in the Winter X Games. Nor is she a stranger to winning gold medals at the Winter X Games. She's won four gold medals in the Superpipe event (2003, 2005, 2008 and 2010). She took silver in 2007, as well, which rounds out all of the medals she's taken in the Games. In those other years, she has finished sixth or farther down.
In 2011, Bleiler took sixth place overall, which was the last spot among those who survived the elimination round. Bleiler wiped out on her first run and never overcame that on her final two runs. Instead, Kelly Clark outclassed the other competitors and won gold with a score of 92.33.
But in 2010, Bleiler was the one who edged out Clark for gold. She took first place 96.66 to 96.00. Will she have her fifth gold medal when the games end on Jan. 29?
Professional snowboarder Louie Vito broke onto the scene as a 17-year-old at the Australian Open by becoming the first person to successfully complete a backside 1080. Since then, he has competed in the 2010 Winter Olympics -- where he finished fifth in the halfpipe competition -- and the 2011 Winter X Games.
Vito finished third in the SuperPipe competition at last year's X Games, but he has the potential to finish higher than that, as evidenced by his first place finish in that competition at the 2011 European Winter X Games.
Getting to first place won't be easy with Shaun White standing in his way -- White has won gold in the SuperPipe at the last four Winter X Games -- but Vito certainly is a contender in 2012, as is the other man who finished ahead of him last year, Scotty Lago.
Maddy Schaffrick is just 17 years old (she'll be 18 on April 24), but the Steamboat Springs, CO, native is more than prepared to not let youth get in her way. After missing the 2011 season due to injury, Schaffrick is back at the 2012 Winter X Games after a one-year absence. She is out to improve upon the 8th and 15th place finishes in 2009 and 2010, respectively. All in all, those were great showings for a competitor who was 14 and 15 years of age at the time.
Outside of the Winter X Games, Schaffrick has an impressive yet burgeoning record with multiple top 10 finishes. She took first place for best trick and most progressive ride at Aspen's Snow Angels Invitational in 2009.
It will likely be tough for her to best the likes of Gretchen Bleiler and Kelly Clark, but Schaffrick should have her time coming soon.
Check out what she did recently during the Nike Open 2011 in December (go to the 1:40 mark for her performance):
Shaun White will once again have much of the focus on him at the Winter X Games. Noted for his long red hair, White has been nicknamed the "Flying Tomato," but in 2010 he took on the nickname of the "Animal" since he resembles the Muppet of the same name. And he will look to be an animal on the snow again as he competes in the Superpipe and the Slopestyle.
White enters the 2012 Winter X Games with big expectations. As the premier snowboarder, White is looking to capture his fifth straight gold medal in the Superpipe event. He captured his fourth gold medal by performing his Double McTwist 1260 toward the end of his second run during the medal event. His performance included a backside air 19 feet out of the pipe, a double cork stalefish 1080, a cab double cork 1080, a front stalefish 5 and then the double McTwist 1260 and backside alley oop rodeo to finish things out.
He picked up a 97.33 score for that run and set another record. In 2010, he became the first boarder to win three straight gold medals and in 2011 he broke that with his fourth. Will he be able to do it for a fifth time?
The 2012 Winter X Games will kick off later this week, giving everyone the chance to witness a collection of many of the world's best winter athletes. There are dozens of names to keep both eyes on, and one of them is certainly up-and-coming young snowboarder Scotty Lago.
Lago, 24, has emerged as one of the best snowboarders in the world since breaking into competition in 2004. A native of Seabrook, New Hampshire, Lago may actually be one of the most substantial challengers to Shaun White's grasp on the SuperPipe gold medal. White, also an Olympic champion, has won the past four gold medals in the SuperPipe event.
Last year, Lago won the silver medal, finishing second to White in the SuperPipe competition. As the announcers in the video above noted, he accomplished that just weeks after breaking his jaw. He did come away with one gold medal at last year's Winter X Games, though, landing the top honor in the men's best method competition over fellow American Ross Powers.
Hannah Teter enters the 2012 Winter X Games looking for a gold medal for the first time since she took it all in the 2004 Superpipe competition. Her 2011 performance failed to get her out of the elimination round. Her first run (15.33) put her off balance and she was only able to recover for a 67.00 on her second run. That placed her 10th overall, her worst finish on the Superpipe.
But Teter did rebound a couple of months later when she picked up a silver medal in the Superpipe at the 2011 Winter X Europe competition. Her 91.00 score on her second run sealed the silver medal for her.
Will she be able to beat out the likes of Kelly Clark and Gretchen Bleiler? Clark took gold in both the Winter X Games and the European Games in 2011 while Bleiler wasn't at her best in Aspen last year.
The 2021 Winter X Games return to Colorado as the world's top skiers and snowboarders compete for glory on slopes and in the pipes.
The 2012 Winter X Games are right around the corner. Shaun White will look for a five-peat in the Men's Superpipe at Buttermilk Mountain in Aspen, CO.
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