Sochi 2014: Flying tomato Shaun White to add colour on day four
Sochi 2014: American snowboarder Shaun White looking to become seventh athlete to win same event three straight times
Day four in Sochi will be the day of the Flying Tomato if the form guide is to be believed in the men’s snowboard halfpipe.
Shaun White may have cut his flowing red hair since Vancouver 2010, but his powers on the board have not been diminished.
Should he win, White will become only the seventh athlete to win the same event at three consecutive Games. But he has been critical of the conditions at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park in recent days.
In the flat bottom, where they cut it, it’s like a bump, so everyone is riding along and then hits the bump, and that’s really not very good
“The first day, the walls were a little over-[vertical], so everybody was doing airs, and then landing like pretty flat,” White said.
“Today, they made the walls better so everybody lands [correctly], but in the flat bottom, where they cut it, it’s like a bump, so everyone is riding along and then hits the bump, and that’s really not very good.”
White pulled out of the slopestyle event at the weekend to remain injury-free ahead of his halfpipe defence, where his main rivals will likely be his fellow Americans Danny Davis and Gregory Bretz, although reigning world champion Iouri Podladtchikov, from Switzerland, will surely be in the mix as well.
White won in Vancouver with a run of 48.4 (out of 50) in his final run, where he pulled out his much anticipated Tomahawk trick, a 1260 Double McTwist.
Elsewhere, Norway’s Petter Northug leads the list of favourites for the men’s cross-country skiing freestyle sprint, having won bronze in this event four years ago in Vancouver.
Northug won the full haul of medals in 2010, picking up two golds, one silver and a bronze, a personal haul of four out of Norway’s nine cross-country medals.
And his skiing-obsessed country could be in for a clean sweep of the medals with Eirik Brandsdal and Anders Gloeersen also predicted to feature among the top racers.
Four-times X Games gold medallist, Kaya Turski, will go into the inaugural women’s slopestyle skiing event as the clear favourite.
After the massive popularity of the snowboarding slopestyle all eyes will once again be on the action at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.
Canadian Turski tore her ACL in her left knee in August but returned just four months later to win gold at the 2014 X Games in Aspen.
And the RusSki Gorki Ski Jumping Center sees another Olympic first as women will fly down the jump for the first time in the Winter Olympics’ 90-year history.
Japan’s Sara Takanashi will go in as favourite, but also look out for Austria’s Daniela Iraschko-Stolz.
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