Skating, downhill, and hockey maybe the superstar sports but I'm a particular fan of the X games. This is probably the Americans biggest chance to gather medals because lets face it, Norway and Russia will be the powerhouse countries in the next few weeks.
Snowboarding, which includes (men & women's) the Parallel Giant Slalom, Half pipe, and Snowboard Cross are truly fun events to watch, especially the Half pipe. Canada does have one or two medal hopefuls, but this year United States are the ones to beat... and even worse... none of the these athletes tend to choke when the pressure is on. In fact, they thrive on it.
Parallel giant Slalom
Not only did Canada take the first men's gold medal, but Ross Rebagliati was caught smoking pot. A lot of us laugh since.. well he's from B.C. and a SNOWBOARDER. Surprised? Nobody is. In a reversal of roles Tyler Jewell and Michelle Gorgone are USA's biggest hopefuls but lack intimidation factor of the halfpipe team members and not particularly favoured to win. Austria's Siegfried Grabner, Germany's Phillip Schoch, and Canada's Jasey-Jay Anderson are considered the favourites for men. Canada's Maelle Ricker will have her country behind her in the ladies category.
Shaun White. USA Even has a ring to it doesn't it? This guy stormed into the 2006 Winter Olympics as the favourite and even won the gold medal... ON HIS FIRST RUN.
With a mop of long red hair, he rises above the field for his ambition to create new and near impossible feats. In the spring of 2009 he approached Red Bull with the idea of creating a private halfpipe in a remote location to escape daily distractions. The Red Bull Project X idea was hatched, a 22-foot tall superpipe accented with a huge 600 square foot foam pit at the bottom of the pipe was constructed in the remote area of Silverton Mountain, Colorado. Far from prying eyes, the facility gave him a place to try new untested ideas with less risk of injury. He's since tested and perfected tricks like a frontside double cork 1080, double McTwists, and double backside rodeos, (sort of sounds like food doesn't it?) taking a fraction of the time it normally would to accomplish. In August 2009 he would resurface at the Burton New Zealand Open showcasing his new "bag of tricks", raising the bar even higher than thought possible. We can only anticipate with unsuppressed glee what he'll showcase to world in the next few weeks.
I can't believe I need to even mention ANOTHER amazing contender on the same bloody team! Louie Vito, is also an incredible athlete who is ALSO likely to medal... and if Shaun falters even a bit, bet of this guy taking the win. Pain in the ass these Americans.
Kelly Clark USA The most aggressive female on the circuit, she attempts tricks that are on the men's level. Her international threats will be Australia's Torah Bright and China's Liu Jiayu, but her greatest foes lie within her very own team. Gretchen Bleiler and Hannah Teter (the defending 2006 Torino Gold medalist) will definitely not be far behind.
Seth Wescott USA The defending Olympic gold medalist, seven time X games medalist and previous world champion. Nate Holland another strong teammate, comprise a very strong US team that will have to contend with international heavy weights such as Pierre Vaultier and Xavier De Le Rue of France, and Austria's Markus Schairer who are highly favoured to medal.
Canada's biggest hopeful lies with the ladies Maelle Ricker but the American favourite Lindsey Jacobellis will not make it easy. Jacobellis has a formadible record, with the World Cup title in 2006-07 and 2008-09, she also won the world title in 2005 and 2007 along with the 2009 X Games gold. After her disappointing performance in 2006 Olympics, you know she'll be gunning for nothing less than the gold.
Could there be anything more crazy than this sport? I don't know a thing about this sport but I absolutely LOVE to watch it. I don't even think Canada or USA has a team to truly contend in this event. The Swiss, Japanese, Finnish and Austrians are like these flying celebrity superstars of the sport. Swiss champion Simon Ammann dubbed "Harry Potter" for his glasses and "near magical" exploits, is back on form and looking to defend his Olympic golden victory this year.
Flying supermen to watch:
Austria: Gregor Schlierenzauer, Thomas Morgenstern, Wolfgang Loitzi
Swiss: Simon Ammann, Andreas Kuettel
Finland: Janne Ahonen, Matti Hautamaeki
Germany: Martin Schmitt
Japan: Taku Takeuchi, Daiki Ito, Takanobu Okabe