Shaun Whitemay have pulled out of the slopestyle competition at the Sochi Olympics, but he remains the best in the world in the halfpipe for one simple reason.
White is able to pull off the best tricks because of the incredible amount of speed he generates. With so much speed, White is able to get higher on his jumps allowing for more time to complete better and more complicated tricks.
Check out how high White is on his first jump out of the pipe compared to the purple mark on the light fixture. White had the best run of the qualification round, scoring a 95.75 on his first run to finish first in his heat.
Here is Nathan Johnstone of Australia on his first jump, near the same light fixture. Johnstone finished seventh out of 20 snowboarders in this heat and was typical of the height generated by other riders at this point in the pipe.
The only rider who appeared to come close to generating as much amplitude as White was fellow American Danny Davis who finished third in the heat.
With so much height and speed on the first jump, White is better able to maintain speed on his subsequent, more technical tricks. Here is White’s second leap out of the pipe.
And here is Johnstone on his second trick. Again, this was typical of most riders.
Here is Davis’ second jump. Notice his height is actually pretty close to White’s height at the same point which bodes well for his chances moving forward. Davis did win gold at the most recent winter X Games.
Finally, here is a photo captured by Getty showing White’s immense amount of height on his first trick.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.