Extreme Exposure: White stars at U.S. Open, Kim keeps impressing, more
In this week's edition of Extreme Exposure—a weekly column featuring news and photography from the world of action and outdoor sports—Shaun White lays down the gauntlet, Mikaela Shiffrin wins second straight slalom event and much more.
Not Going Anywhere
This one had to feel so good for Shaun White. After stories broke that he’d been left off the X Games roster due to “disparaging remarks” about the event, the 29-year-old—who won the Dew Tour Superpipe in December—came out with a vengeance in Vail during the Halfpipe finals Saturday. He won the prelims and then crushed his first run in the finals, throwing down a massive first-hit backside air that had color commentator Tom Monterosso giving praise to White in the booth. White had a soul crushing run in the Slopestyle event Friday that left him dead last so his win in the Halfpipe was both a pick-me-up from that defeat, and perhaps a laying down of the gauntlet as he prepares to qualify for the 2018 Olympics. “I was just feeling it today,” White said on the webcast after. “I’m pumped, there were rumors saying I was retiring but I still feel like I’m just getting started.”
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Is She For Real?
Chloe Kim is ridiculous—in the best possible way. At merely 15 years old, she’s been making women’s snowboarding look better than it ever has. And her amplitude and style aren’t the only aspects of her game earning her kudos—her dominance is. We’re starting to talk grand slams for Kim. While there are a plethora of events, making it tough to pick out “majors,” Kim has taken second in halfpipe (her specialty) at these two events: Dew Tour in Dec. 2015 and the Mammoth Grand Prix in Jan. 2016. Other than that, in a non-Olympic year, she’s topped the podium at X Games Aspen, the Youth Olympics, X Games Oslo and now the U.S. Open. Next up for Kim and the rest of the field? The World Championships of Snowboarding in Yabuli, Heilongjiang, China, March 9-16.
Dungey Doesn’t Win
Eli Tomac took down Ryan Dungey, who’s had an incredible season thus far in the Supercross series, for his first win of 2016. Dungey still managed his 25th-consecutive podium finish at Florida’s Daytona International Speedway, which tied the series record. “This is a place where I’ve always wanted to win,” Tomac said. “Daytona is a different race. I just had fun on my dirt bike tonight.” Dungey now owns a 39-point lead in the overall title race.
Shiffrin Takes Spotlight
This kid can ski. Mikaela Shiffrin, who unfortunately missed part of the 2016 season with a knee injury, won her second consecutive World Cup slalom event in Jasna, Slovakia over the weekend, the 18th slalom win of her career. And it was in dominating fashion. She defeated second place finisher Wendy Holdener of Sweden by 2.36 seconds, a lifetime in this sport. It’s just too bad Shiffrin is left wondering what might have been as Sweden’s Frida Hansdotter sealed up the overall slalom title with her 10th place finish. Still, things look good for the 20-year-old Shiffrin heading into 2017.
Mikaela Shiffrin won the women's World Cup slalom in Jasna, Slovakia on Sunday by a massive 2.36-second margin. Shiffrin is unbeaten in slalom racing since February 2015 but can't win the discipline title this season having missed five races during a two-month injury layoff. #skiing #slalom #mikaelashiffrin #usskiteam #sports #womensports #Excelle
Speed Queen Calls It Quits
This was a total bummer: after a wreck in Andorra during a super-G race left her with fractures in her knee, Lindsey Vonn, who was leading the overall World Cup race, called it quits last week. In a rather epic Instagram post she opined, “Because I am currently leading the Overall World Cup standings, this is one of the toughest decisions of my career. When I crashed on Saturday in Andorra, I fractured my Tibial Plateau. The traditional X-rays showed a hairline fracture, but (in) Barcelona where more precise MRI and CT equipment was available, (those) images showed there were in fact three.” It was a stat-sheet filling year for one of the greatest racers of all-time: she won her 20th discipline title (more than any other racer, male or female), earned nine World Cup victories while setting the downhill overall victory mark, among others. At 31, with a history of knee injures, it’ll be interesting to see how much Vonn has left in the tank. Regardless, she’s certainly left her signature on the sport.
Today I am making the difficult decision to end my season and leave the World Cup circuit due to an injury I suffered last Saturday. Because I am currently leading the Overall World Cup standings, this is one of the toughest decisions of my career. When I crashed on Saturday in Andorra, I fractured my tibial plateau. The traditional X-rays that were taken that afternoon showed a hairline fracture, but the tibial plateau appeared to be stable and did not pose significant risk to competing. So I raced on Sunday. After the Super Combined on Sunday, I went to Barcelona where more precise MRI and CT equipment was available and scans were performed on Tuesday morning. Those images showed that there was not just 1 hairline fracture, but in fact 3. And the fractures are not hairline, but instead they are significant enough that they are not sufficiently stable to permit me to safely continue skiing. Further damage any of the fragments could result in a serious surgery that would risk my future in ski racing. With the World Championships in St. Moritz next year and the Winter Olympics in South Korea the following year, I cannot take that risk. So I have made the decision to end my season. I am very proud of what I have been able to accomplish this year: 9 World Cup victories, breaking the World Cup downhill win record, breaking the World Cup Super G podium record, and winning the most World Cup discipline titles--20--of any skier, male or female. While I am confident that I'm making the right decision, it still doesn't make this decision any easier. Thanks to everyone who supported me and stood by me through it all. Best of luck to all the World Cup competitors. I'll see you again next year. Xo LV