White Wins Winter Gold

Back-to-back titles for 'flying tomato'

ASPEN, Colo. (AP) — Snowboarder Shaun White was trailing going into his final run, his tricks betraying him as he wiped out on his first two attempts.

Pressure?  Please.  Not for Shaun White.

The "Flying Tomato" put it all together on his final run to become the first athlete to win back-to-back titles in the superpipe at Winter X, edging out Kevin Pearce on Sunday night.  White also won the slopestyle event the day before, capping off a remarkable competition for the boarder known for his flowing red locks.

"That last-run pressure does it for me," said White, who now has a record nine gold medals at Winter X. "It just comes out of me."
That was apparent as White smoothly put together a solid final attempt, his backside rodeo putting him over the top.

"I knew I had the run in me," said the Carlsbad native. "I had to put it down."

Pearce churned out a fabulous run as well, only to be beaten by White.  Or did he?

"If he has a massive score his name propelled him into it," ESPN commentator Todd Richards said before the score was revealed.
When it was, Richards added, "I don't agree with that at all."

White wasn't about to quibble. Judges score, he just rides.

"What did you think, Kev?" White asked in a middle of a news conference.

"I think you killed it, man," Pearce responded.

So much for the great debate.

White was just as impressed with Pearce's performance, even wanting to steal a trick or two from the young rider.

"Kevin's run was unreal. I just loved his first hit. He's so stylish," White said. "I want to copy the trick, but I can't. Too cool."

Waiting at the bottom of the slope for White to venture down was an anxious exercise for Pearce. He had a feeling that White was going to do something special.  And he did.

"It's not a position I want to be in ever again," Pearce said, smiling.

The silver medal helped soothe the bruises of a rough weekend. Pearce crashed in a slopestyle practice session, giving himself a black eye and a cut that required three stitches. He pulled out of the big air competition due to the fall, then just missed out on qualifying for the finals of slopestyle as White grabbed the last spot from him.

"Shaun has been riding great all night, all week," Pearce said.

Antti Autti of Finland took third.

White can't believe he finally broke the jinx that befalls a defending champions at Winter X.

"I was getting really nervous. I mean, like maybe it is kind of a curse," White said.

Turns out, it wasn't.

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