Friday, February 12, 2010

PostHeaderIcon Shaun White Readies New Snowboarding Trick

Shaun White, the red headed U.S. snowboarder who stole the public's eye at the 2006 Turin Games, is well aware that he must take his skills to a new level at the 2010 Games. The "Flying Tomato," as he is called, has prepared a new trick that will hopefully capture the judges eyes when he hits the half pipe.

Being the best in the world is a sometimes lonely experience for White, who has built an empire since winning gold in the halfpipe at Turin four years ago and becoming known as the Flying Tomato.

He often trains by himself in the Colorado mountains, on a halfpipe built by Red Bull, one of his main sponsors. He usually stays by himself during regular competitions, and will spend the next few days in a separate house from his teammates to grab a few moments of sanity before the games begin.

"I do things very differently, even where sometimes I feel like everybody is at the pipe and there's so much going on and it's really distracting and it's really tough to focus," White said.

Though White like to clarify something. The Flying Tomato is so 2006. He's got a new moniker handed out by talk show host Conan O'Brien, who called him "Animal" during a recent appearance.

The name is a reference to the wild-haired Muppets character who thrashes away on the drums. Considering the way White flips, spins and twists his way down the halfpipe, there's more than a passing resemblance.

Yet he's making an impact beyond catchy nicknames, merchandising and gold medals. He's also helping pull the sport into the future thanks to his newest trick, which he calls the Double McTwist 1260.

White has called it "my best friend and worst enemy," and the relationship has been rocky since he started working on the maneuver, which requires him to flip twice while twisting three and a half times.

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Welcome to Olympic Updates, my continuing blog to following the Olympic Games. Founded in 2007, I have enjoyed providing news and information on the 2008 Beijing Summer Games and I look forward to keeping you up to date on the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games.

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