Shaun White clinches six-peat
ASPEN, Colo. -- Shaun White brought X Games Aspen 2013 to a close Sunday night with another emphatic performance in the SuperPipe he all but owns.
The greatest competitive snowboarder in history routed the field, earning the night's top two scores, including a 98.00 on his second run. That run began with a record-setting 24-foot, 1-inch backside air above the walls of the Buttermilk Mountain pipe, breaking his own mark by a foot.
With his win, White matched Snowmobile SnoCross racer Tucker Hibbert's six-peat from Sunday afternoon, the first and second time that's been done in Winter X Games history.
"I don't think I've ever been more focused and more in tune with what I'm doing physically as well as mentally," said White, a crossover star who has 15 X Games gold medals between snowboarding and skateboarding, including eight in SuperPipe. "Six years, that's pretty heavy. It's going to be more uncomfortable next year when I'm going for the seventh. I like it; it's a pretty humbling title to hold. I'm proud."
White, the oldest competitor in the field at age 26, distanced himself from the youngest athlete of the group, high-flying Japanese eighth-grader Ayumu Hirano, 14, who claimed silver in his X Games debut with a 92.33. White landed the same run that earned him a perfect 100 in last year's final, highlighted by back-to-back double cork 1260s on his final two hits -- his trademark double McTwist into the frontside variation he pioneered last January.
White, who failed to medal in Slopestyle on Saturday, falling twice and finishing fifth, left little hope for his challengers with a 95-point first run Sunday night.
The only element missing from his historic night was his would-be challenger, Iouri Podladtchikov, or "I-Pod," as the Swiss world champion is known. Podladtchikov qualified ahead of White in Thursday's elimination round, but he came down with the flu and withdrew from Sunday's competition shortly before it began.
White said Podladtchikov texted him to apologize.
"It kind of bummed me out," White said. "I like riding with Iouri. He pushes me."
Hirano, who launched his 116-pound frame more than 19 feet out of the pipe, couldn't match White's technical difficulty, with just one double cork in his run (a front dub 1080). But he drew roars from the crowd by linking stylish and smooth front and cab 1080s into front and back 900s before unleashing his lone double cork.
"I think he's got an amazing future ahead of him, and I was proud to ride with him tonight," White said of Hirano.
Finland's Markus Malin earned the first medal of his X Games career with bronze (91.33), landing the same double McTwist 1260 that White invented before the 2010 Olympics.
Scotty Lago also scored 90 points, thanks to a rare two-handed truck driver grab on a frontside 1080 at the end of his first run.