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YOLO flip to gold

In one of the biggest shocks of the 2014 Winter Games,Iouri Podladtchikov was crowned Olympic snowboard halfpipe champion in Sochi thanks to an audacious new trick, toppling the US rider Shaun White from his place as king of the discipline.

New tricks

On 11 February 2014 in the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, Podladtchikov started his second run in the snowboard halfpipe final. Halfway down a so-far faultless run he successfully landed a cab double cork 1440 – two backflips, four complete rotations, riding switch with a backwards takeoff. He christened the trick, which only he has done, the YOLO (“You Only Live Once”) flip and admit-ted that he invented it in 2012 to impress a girl!

That night it was the judges, the crowds and everyone watching at home who were stunned by the height and audacity of the trick. The run earned 25-year-old Podladtchikov the Olympic gold medal, as he outshone the reigning champion Shaun White.

Now or never

“I was really ambitious, I could feel it. I told myself, ‘You’ll make it, and if you don’t try it you’ll regret it for the rest of your life’,” the Swiss gold medallist revealed after the run.

“Beating Shaun here doesn’t mean I’m going to dominate for the next two years,” he went on to say. Always respectful of his opponents, shortly after becoming Olympic champion Iouri was al-ready looking ahead to the next season and the chance to compare himself once again against his competitors.

Russian-born, Swiss-bred

Podladtchikov was born in Podolsk, near Moscow, Russia, but he grew up and went to school in Davos, Switzerland, which was where he began snowboarding in 2000. Aged 17 he competed in the halfpipe competition at Turin 2006, where he came 37th. In Turin he competed for Russia but shortly after changed his nationality to Swiss.

After graduating in 2008 from Davos Sports High School, he took home the FIS Halfpipe World Cup that same year. In 2010 he came fourth in the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games in a compe-tition won by Shaun White with his infamous “double McTwist 1260”, a trick which Iouri repeated several weeks later at the X Games in Tignes, France.

World and Olympic Champion

In 2012 Podladtchikov developed his famous YOLO flip. It took a while for him to land the trick in competition but in the 2013 World Championships in Stoneham, Canada, he succeeded and be-came world champion. After the event he said, “Shaun has been at the top for so long! For me, to get there and manage to beat him is huge. You need to be a step ahead and that’s what I tried to do with my YOLO flip.”

A year later, under pressure in Sochi White fell on his first and then second run and ended up back in fourth, leaving the way clear for a new Olympic champion. “If I hadn’t seen the gold medal I wouldn’t have believed it! I’m going to faint!” exclaimed Podladtchikov, new star of the halfpipe.



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