Owning the Air: Shaun White & Co.


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Wild guess: last night was one of the most watched of the Olympics thus far. People stayed up late, and they don’t regret it. Shaun White exhibited the never-seen-before Double McTwist 1260. As he said beforehand: “You’re in for a treat. It’s gonna be heavy.” Not a lot of words other than “epic” are appropriate.

Quick recap: White’s first trip down the half-pipe was awesome to begin with. If you’ve seen the AT&T commercial of a snowboarder [Gretchen Bleiler] catching air into outer-space… well that now seems a little less far-fetched. Based on the first run. And then after hearing that he’d already secured gold before his second run (based on his first dominating the field even after the other contenders had a second try), he just dropped in and owned. The moment the world, and especially that commentator had been watching for . Up until that moment commentators kept noting how “conservative” White was being, prompting tweets such as:

@kmwrather Did not realize one could get so much air whilst snowboarding. Holy Cow. But that was being conservative for Shaun White.

Speaking of which… my favorite topic: commentators. As Molly put it: That dude has  a serious bro crush on Shaun White. It was almost inappropriate how excited he was about every breath, word spoken, and trick tricked by Shaun White. In the middle of other athlete’s runs he would wax poetic about White’s air. It was a little romantic. It was a lot weird: “It’s nice to see he’s slightly human.” What does that even mean?

Let’s hope that Shaun White doesn’t manage to muss this gold medal the way he did with his Torino medal. Oh, I’m sorry did you miss that special segment on him. Allow me to recap. Apparently at some point after the 2006 games, one of his friends was all like, “Mannn, you’re wayyy too modest! You should wear that thing around!” Instead, said friend wore the medal out with White one night. Just out, you know, partying whatever. Just you know, and Olympic gold medal. So in the morning, White discovers that the ribbon is pretty filthy, so he takes it to his mom asking her if she can wash it. Mom being a mom takes it to the dry cleaners, medal still attached and asked them to do what they could. The medal came back on a hanger and it cost $10. Apparently mom felt that was a bit much, meanwhile White says, “I was just happy to have my medal back.”

I know.

My favorite quote of the night however had nothing to do with Shaun White, but Kokubo of Japan who had a fall on his first round and thus as he appeared for his second attempt and the commentator gets all excited, “You can see the blood on his face!” It was a little gross. It was also a weirdly put statement and I typed it into my notes immediately.

Also, I’ve become a big fan of Peetu Piiroinen of the “Finnish Mafia.” He came in for the silver medal. Why do I like him? His name is Peetu. Apparently they call the Finnish team the Finnish Mafia. Did you not note that? Hi. Also, as per medal ceremony footage where you finally see him sans helmet, he’s kind of an albino looking fellow. Gets better and better.

Other fun notes, Louie Vito of team USA was on Dancing with the Stars, so apparently that’s thing for Olympics athletes? I might be coming to this party late, but it’s news to me. Maybe he and Apolo Ohno should have a dance off once their events are over. Like an exhibition event. Just a thought.

To close, another sartorial conundrum has been presented by the American snowboarding outfits. Let’s talk about those gloves. They first came to my notice when Louie Vito flashed them at the camera, hands open, side-by-side the fingers/palms make up an American flag. It’s the most truckerific accessory. Why Burton? Why? Oh well, at least the ladies who are qualifying today have really nice fuzzy hats. I kind of want one.

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Filed under [Obscure] Winter Sports

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