2010 Olympic Men’s Snowboard Halfpipe Hopefuls
Making its debut in the 1998 Olympics in Japan, the snowboarding halfpipe event has become the must watch event during the winter games. From the events’ inception, to today, the US Team has dominated the halfpipe event; and this year is shaping up to be a repeat of years past.
As events get underway later this week, look for the following contenders to stand out in the 2010 Winter Olympic Snowboard Halfpipe Event.
• Shaun White – Shaun solidified his place at the head of the US Team in January when he won the US Snowboarding Grand Prix with a near perfect score. With Kevin Pearce and Danny Davis out of the halfpipe competition due to injuries, Shaun White leads the way to Olympic Gold for the US.
• Scotty Lago – Shaun White has named fellow US Team member Scotty Lago as a “top threat” in the halfpipe competition. Starting out as a long shot coming into this year’s season, Scotty has stepped up his game to come in a close second in the US Grand Prix circuit. With his rapid progression and increased desire to win, Scotty is one to watch in this years’ event.
• Jeff Batchelor – Amongst the hopefuls for the Canadian Team sits Jeff Batchelor. A relative newcomer to snowboarding competitions, Jeff Batchelor has begun his transformation into a contender for this years’ gold medal. Joining teammates Brad Martin and Justin Lamoureux, it will be interesting see how this crowd pleaser fares against the seasoned veterans.
• Ryoh Aono – Mr. Aono is the Japanese Team’s equivalent of the US Team’s Shaun White. Over the past 4 years, Ryoh has dominated the World Cup circuit; winning an astounding six gold medals in all. Ryoh Aono also won the 2009 world championship title in Korea. As the halfpipe event gets under way this year, Aono will have his sights set on knocking Shaun white from the top of the Olympic podium.
• Iouri Podladtchikov – Known by his fans as “I-Pod,” Iouri Podladtchikov has progressed to become one of the top contenders in the halfpipe event at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. Iouri currently holds a second place ranking on the Swatch TTR World Tour and recently finished in second place, behind Shaun White, at the 2010 Winter X Games. With an arsenal of double corked jumps in his sack, I-Pod is ready to give his all at this year’s halfpipe event.
The 2010 Olympic Men’s Snowboard Halfpipe qualification, semifinals, and finals will all be held on February 17th at Cypress Mountain in Vancouver. Tune in to local coverage to watch the five contenders listed above, as well as other favorites, compete for a place on the Olympic podium. Check back here in the Sierrasnowboard.com Media Section for updates on Olympic rankings and further coverage on the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
Photo: Shaun White; top contender in the Men's Halfpipe Event.