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White wins 3rd Gold. Internet erupts. Surprised? Really?

PyeongChang 2018

Olympic news: Shaun White nails 3rd Halfpipe Gold ahead of Hirano and James

Shaun White nailed this morning’s Olympic Halfpipe event, winning his third Gold (and America’s symbolic 100th) with an epic third run which will be long in the memory. He left his best til last, scoring 97.75 against Ayumu Hirano’s 95.25 and Scotty James’ 92.00. He’s 31 years old and it’s unlikely we’ll ever see his like again. He’s built a legacy of domination that is impossible to dispute – and one that will surely be similarly impossible to equal. Snowboarding’s posterboy delivered last night on the biggest stage, under the biggest pressure. These are indisputable facts.

It was a deserved win, no matter what you may read in Facebook comments etc. His run was bigger, better, higher and in more technical order than anyone else’s. What other criteria do we need to pick a winner? Watch the footage yourself and make your own mind up. At the last minute, White pulled tricks out of the bag he’d only been rumoured as being capable of doing. To step up under that pressure, with that run, was the mark of deserved champion.

Hirano was deflated – understandably so as he stood in first place going into round 3, having put down an epic 2nd run. In the end, he’d have to settle for his second Olympic Silver ahead of Scotty James in Bronze. On another day, Hirano’s run would have easily earned Gold. But that day would have been minus one Shaun White on the kind of form he showed last night.

But enough already. Here’s the results (listed runs 1, 2, 3 and final score):

94.25 55.00 97.75 97.75

35.25 95.25 43.25 95.25

Scotty JAMES
92.00 81.75 40.25 92.00

43.00 83.50 90.75 90.75

84.00 51.00 89.75 89.75

87.75 52.25 88.00 88.00

85.75 25.00 87.00 87.00

47.00 82.25 27.00 82.25

31.25 80.50 70.75 80.50

20.00 62.00 56.75 62.00

39.25 7.00 DNS 39.25

4.50 12.75 13.50 13.50


The problem with White

I started writing this last night then realised it was half four in the morning (CET) and figured anyone awake at that time would have likely just watched it too – so why bother writing about something that people had literally just seen. Decision made – leave it til morning when the head would be clearer and the sense of what I’d just watched had sunk in.

Now, 4 hours later, I’m thinking that wasn’t the reason at all. I’m thinking it was pure deflection on my part. Truth is, it’s hard to write about Shaun White at the best of times – never mind when he’s just won top-spot in snowboarding’s most visible competition, in front of a global audience of millions. This is Shaun White – a man that splits communities better than the Berlin Wall ever could. He isn’t just a “Marmite” thing – White inspires or annoys, in equal measure, depending on your particular leaning. As the internet comments today prove, there’s very little fence-sitting when it comes to Shaun White.

So, here’s the simple facts, otherwise I’m going to end up living in this chair, writing and re-writing this ad nauseum:

  • Like him or loathe him, history was made last night. We’ll start with an easy one. History is made every second of every day. It’s gone, it’s past, it’s history. How’s that for a non-committal . . .
  • Shaun White scored a 97.75 in his third and final run beating Hirano’s 95.25 and James’ 92.00.
  • His win seals the US’ complete domination of Freestyle snowboarding at this Olympics.
  • Like him or loathe him, he’s one of the most talented, winningest riders of a generation
  • Again – like him or loathe him – White is a global mega-brand and, for many people, he’s synonymous with the sport. There will be kids the world over that first saw snowboarding – first got interested in snowboarding – and first tried snowboarding – as a direct result of watching Shawn White. Adverts don’t come much better.

Shaun White was under it last night – make no mistake about that. After celebrating his first run like it was a medal-winner in itself, he almost set himself up for a fail. It was a display that pretty much embodied everything that every detractor would say is wrong with White. Yes, he was hyped but to fling your helmet into the crowd by way of victory salute after run 1 of 3? It kind of showed the arrogance and ruthless competitiveness he’s slated for. Many will say it was just because he was pumped to win. But this, in itself, is another key polarising issue with White and the fact the internet is alight today with debates over the validity of his win.

On the one hand, White is focussed, driven to succeed, dedicated, professional, beyond talented and one of the best proponents we have for the sport on the global stage.

On the other, he’s arrogant, ruthless, more interested in winning than anything else, an out-and-out competition rider, in it just for the money and a spoilt-ass rich kid who takes off to his own Bond villain training facilities. I mean who else would have had their own secret training facility built on a private mountain to the exclusion of everyone else? The film, the Crash Reel, did little to promote Shaun White as an all-round nice guy – but there’s been countless other examples over the years. It’s ironic really when you think back to the very early video parts of a little freckle-faced ginger kid riding harder than most adults, to the adulation of his peers, discovered by Tony Hawk when he was just 7. Over the years, he appeared to become a master of his own bad PR – something he seems desperate to change as he gets older.

So here the Yin/Yang debate rolls on with White. The man we saw last night looked truly worried – even humbled at times. He interacted more with the crowd, reaching out for their support in a way we’ve not seen in the past. For the first time in what seems like forever, there would be no victory lap with a best-for-last, rabbit-out-of-the-hat showcase proving what he might have pulled. For once, White had to throw down his very best tricks in the live comp to take the win. This was a guy at the edge of what’s possible in his riding – in fact, at the edge of what’s currently possible in pipe riding right now.

At 31, White is double the age of the talented, relentless, young whippersnappers coming through the ranks these days. 31 is old in most sports – but even more so when that sport involves flinging yourself 5.5m above a 7m chasm. Youngsters take note – it’s a sad truth but the older you get, the more this stuff hurts and the more the mental “what-ifs” enter your brain. You’ll realise this one day – just like the rest of us.

White had already injured himself twice in the lead-up to these Games – once with a serious fall that required 63 stitches to put his face back together. It’s inevitable these things sat in his brain as he lined up to drop in. Or maybe it’s not. Maybe that’s just one facet of what singles out a Champion. Either way, he came into this event with something to prove. In the words of one NBC commentator following qualifying, “White is on a mission.”

The debate will rage for days about his win but for all his detractors, it’s worth remembering a simple truth – Shaun White has done a lot for snowboarding – and he did so again last night. The finals couldn’t have brought more drama if they’d been scripted for a Hollywood blockbuster (don’t rule that out happening sometime in the future). Today we wake to a world awash with talk of snowboarding.

In an age where the sport’s popularity is on the wane (and it is, just look at the figures), this is a very good thing.

Last night again proved if it’s spectacle you want, Shaun White plays a mighty good lead. The Olympic final was an epic rollercoaster with a deserved winner in the end. Like him or loathe him, snowboarding is better for having Shaun White.

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Olympic news: Katie Ormerod shatters heel just before Olympics

Very sad news out of PyeongChang today as we learn Katie Ormerod – one of the best UK chances for an Olympic medal this year – has been ruled out of the Games after suffering a severely fractured heel in training.

Mike Hay, Team GB Chef de Mission said: “We are deeply sorry for Katie and her fellow snowboarders who have lost a valued member of their close-knit team. She is a world class competitor across both disciplines and we are desperately disappointed for her.  From everyone at Team GB we wish her all the best for her recovery.”

We wish her all the best for speedy recovery.

Read the full story at



Olympic news: La Plagne has more Olympic competitors than any French resort

Unless you’ve been living under a rock the last couple of months, you’ll have no doubt noticed the biggest event in the wintersports calendar is now almost upon us. We are, of course, referring to the global spectacle that is the Winter Olympic Games, taking place this year in South Korea.

Top athletes from around the world will converge in PyeongChang in the North of the country from 9th to 25th February. As one would expect from a strong Alpine nation, the French team too will be in attendance – including many athletes hailing from the resort of La Plagne.

It’s fitting that an ex-Olympic venue like La Plagne should have a sizeable entry field (the resort was part of the ’92 Albertville Games) but it’s perhaps a little surprising to learn that this year the area will be fielding more Olympic athletes than any other French ski resort. Entrants include top French competitors in Bobsleigh, Alpine Skiing, Ski Half-pipe and Ski Slopestyle. But who are they and – perhaps more importantly – what threat do they pose to our Brit team? As we’re based in La Plagne this year, we decided to take a closer look at a who’s who of the riders from our little corner of the world.



Antoine Adelisse | Ski Slopestyle | © PyeongChang 2018Antoine Adelisse – Men’s Ski Slopestyle

Adelisse skies for the Club des Sports in La Plagne and first began skiing aged five for the Alpine section. He switched aged 12 to concentrate on freestyle, making his debut in 2012 at an event in Finland. He competes in Slopestyle and Big Air but will be concentrating on only Slopestyle in PyeongChang. His form has been improving recently going from a season-best 45th in 2015/16 to a 5th place last year. The 21 year old earned a respectable 27th last time in Sochi but will surely be looking to improve on that this year.

Up against: James “Woodsy” Woods, Tyler Harding



Loic Costerg | Bobsleigh | © PyeongChang 2018Loic Costerg – Men’s 4-man Bobsleigh

The 30 year old rides for team La Plagne and apparently took up the sport just eight years ago. His father was also a professional bobsleigher and he is coached by ex-Olympic Champion, Bruno Mingeon (also from La Plagne). This year Costerg will compete in the 4-man Bob, though he also does the 2-man event. The French team has been improving this year starting with a 17th near the start of season up to a 6th place in a recent event in Whistler, Canada. With improving form just at the right time, it would be folly to discount them from featuring.

Up against: The UK 4-man bobsleigh team



Tess Ledeux | Ski Slopestyle | © PyeongChang 2018Tess Ledeux – Women’s Ski Slopestyle

At just 16 years old, Tess Ledeux has been slowly but determinedly climbing the World Cup rankings over the last two years, starting out with Rookie wins at the start of last season and culminating with a World Ski Championships Gold in Sierra Nevada. On the way she also grabbed two X-Games silvers in Aspen and Oslo – impressive stuff. With another World Cup win this season at Font Romeau, Ledeux seems to be reaching form just in time for the Games and is hotly tipped for a podium place in PyeongChang.

Up against: Isabel Atkin, Katie Summerhayes



Julien Lizeroux | Ski Slalom | © PyeongChang 2018Julien Lizeroux – Men’s Ski Slalom

Lizeroux, 38, is one of the oldest competitors still on the World Cup tour but don’t let age fool you – he’s still a formidable talent and one of the most consistent slalom specialists out there. With his father a mountain guide and mother a ski instructor, it was unlikely Lizeroux would take any different path in life and he first started competing aged just seven. By 19, he’d joined the French Alpine team and quickly became Junior National Slalom Champion in 1988. However, his career really took off in the 2008-09 season when he began regularly placing in the top ten. He remains an outside chance for a medal but will be in the mix for sure at this, his third Olympics. Lizeroux is also co-owner of the Le Bonnet on-hill restaurant in Plagne Bellecôte and organizer of the La Plagne’s Super Slalom event, the longest slalom competition in the world.

Up against: Dave Ryding, Laurie Taylor



Marie Martinod | Ski Halfpipe | © PyeongChang 2018Marie Martinod – Women’s Ski Halfpipe

Martinod competes in her second Olympics this year and, having earned a Silver medal in Sochi, will surely have a point to prove in PyeongChang. Martinod debuted in 2003 but really found her best form in the latter years with career highs including an X-Games Gold at Tignes in 2013 – and this was after taking a six year break from the sport. Martinod’s strength is her consistency and in recent years she’s earned two 3rd places in 2015/16, three 1st places in 2016/17 as well as one 1st place at Copper Mountain this season. The 33 year old has confirmed she will retire after PyeongChang so surely must be aiming for a podium place to put a closing full-stop on an already hugely successful career.

Up against: Rowan Cheshire, Molly Summerhayes



Maxence Muzaton | Alpine Skiing | © PyeongChang 2018Maxence Muzaton – Men’s Alping Skiing

The 27 year old from Macot la Plagne competes in Downhill, Super-G and Alpine Combined and has been consistently improving this season climbing results tables from 44th in a Super-G at Beaver Creek to most recently 7th in the Wengen Downhill. Given the right day, with the right conditions, he may yet feature.

Up against: The UK has no Downhill representation



Brice Roger | Alpine Skiing | © PyeongChang 2018Brice Roger – Men’s Alping Skiing

Roger, 27, hails from Villette and competes in Downhill, Super-G and Alpine Combined. His ski instructor mother got him into the sport early (he began skiing as soon as he could walk) and he soon joined the La Plagne Club des Sports aged just seven. He currently skis for the French Army team as well as La Plagne and has been gradually improving his rankings with a season-best 21st place in 2014/15 rising to 7th place this season. Roger is another skier who, if he finds form at the right moment, could be there or thereabouts.

Up against: The UK has no Downhill representation



Kevin Rolland | Ski Halfpipe | © PyeongChang 2018Kevin Rolland – Men’s Ski Halfpipe

No list of Ski Halfpipe greats would be complete without mention of Kevin Rolland. The 28 year old star from Aime has enjoyed a tremendous 15-year career at the top in which he’s won and placed in pretty much every big event – yet Olympic Gold still eludes him and must surely be locked firmly in his sights this time round. Rolland’s early successes were in mogul skiing (further evidence of his depth of talent) before he made the transition to Halfpipe where his trophy haul includes 7 X-Games medals, 15 World Cup podiums, 3 FIS World Championships medals, 3 World Cup crystal globes and a 3rd place at the last Olympics in Sochi. Rolland is an ever-present danger in Ski Halfpipe and he must surely feature in the mix coming into these Olympics.

Competing against: Murray Buchan, Alexander Glavatsky-Yeadon, Peter Speight



Ben Valentin | Ski Halfpipe (retired) | © Facebook - Ben ValentinBen Valentin

Retired from Olympics through injury but was previously scheduled to compete in Ski Halfpipe



This year, we Brits are fielding our largest Winter Olympic squad in history – 59 athletes in total – many with real and genuine medal hopes. We can obviously expect the usual strong showing in the old dependables of curling, bobsleigh, luge and skeleton etc but this year we also have a particularly strong presence in the more accessible sports of skiing and snowboarding.

Following Jenny Jones’ momentous Bronze in Snowboard Slopestyle at the last Games in Sochi, the British Ski and Snowboard team has come on leaps and bounds. The UK team finally has access to proper funding and facilities and over the last few years riders like Woodsy, Nicholls, Ormerod and Morgan have become household names. Indeed, in 2015, Billy Morgan became the first snowboarder ever to land the fabled quad cork (a trick that was considered impossible for many years) and, more recently, Dave Ryding has been shocking the world of slalom skiing with regular top ten places. They are not alone as the UK team continues to go from strength to strength with frequent top tens and podium places in international competitions.

Get ready to cheer on the UK medal hopefuls – and maybe even some La Plagne riders – when the Games start this Friday in PyeongChang. There could yet be a few surprises in store.

Snowboard video: Side Hits Euphoria 2 is here

Did we just watch the video of the year? Very possibly.

From Arthur Longo’s YT channel:

Resort riding, side hits, random stuff on the slopes… Same story as the first chapter. Oli and I filmed everything we found on our way during our last snowboard trips in December. We rode around Vancouver, Mount Seymour, Laax and Arêches-Beaufort. Thank you for watching and have fun riding! Made by: Olivier Gittler and Arthur Longo Filmer: Olivier Gittler


Snowboard full movie : As the Crow Flies by Pirate Movie Productions

From the Red Bull YT channel:

Watch the snowboard action film As the Crow Flies on YouTube in 4K! Join international snowboard professionals – Gigi Rüf , Elias Elhardt, Kazu Kokubo and Toni Kerkela – on their journey around the globe to determine which path leads to a life well-lived, always on the hunt for the best snow, the gnarliest lines, the most unique features.

Riders: Gigi Rüf Austria Elias Elhardt Germany Kazu Kokubo Japan Toni Kerkela Finland

Locations: Italy Japan Sweden Alaska

Narrated by Tom Zahner Written by Thomaz Autran Garcia Original Soundtrack by Midnight Music Produced by Pirate Movie Production Co-produced by Red Bull Media House Soundtrack:

Snowboard news : Full schedule for 2018 PyeongChang Olympics Snowboard events

The schedule for the upcoming Olympics in PyeongChang has just been released. If you’re in Europe, South Korea is 9 hours ahead of GMT, meaning events taking place during the day Korea-time will happen overnight for us. Depending on the kind of boss you have, this could either be a good or a bad thing. It could also mean the difference between a few beers for events like the Halfpipe Finals – or just a quiet cup of tea then bed ;). For reference, the Friday/Saturday dates over the Olympics are 9th/10th – 16th/17th – 23rd/24th.

Key dates and times in South Korea for the snowboard events are:

Snowboard Slopestyle 10th, 11th, 12th February

10th February  10:00-14:30  Men’s Qualification
11th February   10:00-11:40  Men’s Finals

11th February  13:30-15:30   Women’s Qualification
12th February  10:00-11:40   Women’s Finals

Snowboard Halfpipe 12th, 13th, 14th February

12th February  13.30 – 15.00  Women’s Qualification
13th February  10.00 – 11.30  Women’s Finals

13th February  13.00 – 14.50  Men’s Qualification
14th February  10.30 – 12.00  Men’s Finals

Snowboard Cross 15th, 16th February

15th February  11.00 – 12.30  Men’s Snowboard Cross Seeding Round
15th February  13.30 – 14.50  Men’s Snowboard Cross Finals

16th February  10.00 – 11.00  Women’s Snowboard Cross Seeding Round
16th February  12.15 – 13.00   Women’s Snowboard Cross Finals

Snowboard Big Air 19th, 21st, 23rd, 24th February

19th February  09.30 – 12.30  Women’s Snowboard Big Air Qualifications
21st February   09:30 – 12:45  Men’s Snowboard Big Air Qualifications

23rd February  09.30 – 11.00  Women’s Snowboard Big Air Finals
24th February  10.00 – 11.30   Men’s Snowboard Big Air Finals

Snowboard Parallel Giant Slalom 22nd, 24th February

22nd February  12:00-13:30   Women’s and Men’s Parallel Giant Slalom Qualifications
24th February   12:00-13:35    Women’s and Men’s Parallel Giant Slalom Finals

View the full schedule of events in English or visit the main PyeongChang Olympics site for other languages.

Shaun White books his place at PyeongChang in style

Over the weekend, Shaun White absolutely stomped his way into the US Olympic team, scoring a perfect 100 in one of the final US team qualifying events.

White, who has been recovering from injury, bailed his first two runs before laying down his winning effort in the third. On this kind of form, it would be a brave man who bets against him not pulling something out of the bag at the South Korea Games next month – his 4th (yes 4th!) Olympics.