ASPEN, Colo. — In typical fashion, Shaun White made this one look rather easy as he cruised to his sixth straight snowboard superpipe crown at Winter X on Sunday night.
His top rival, Iouri Podladtchikov, dropped out because of an illness. Instead, White's biggest challenger was 14-year-old Ayumu Hirano, who became the youngest athlete ever to medal at Winter X when he took silver. Hirano, of Japan, just might be the future of snowboarding — once White relinquishes control, of course. Markus Malin of Finland was third.
These days, White's biggest competition may just be, well, from himself.
And even his own performances are getting more and more difficult to top. Last year, White earned a perfect 100 on his final run. He tried the same basic combination of tricks this time and scored only 98.
Tough judging, because his run looked flawless. Then again, his performances usually are.
On his winning run, White soared a staggering 24 feet into the air, drawing instant roars from the capacity crowd.