White, Bright rock the pipe
It was one of those days that seemed almost scripted.
The sun was shining, the crowds were cheering and a shock of red hair effortlessly flew down the Park City Mountain Resort course in the 2007 World Superpipe Championships on Saturday afternoon.
Shaun White, 2006 gold medallist and bona fide star athlete, decided to join the field for the first time in an event that also included a women’s competition and a skiing competition. Known as "The Flying Tomato," White treated the large crowds to three runs of big air and seamless tricks that easily earned him the 2007 title with a point total of 96.67.
"The biggest thing is pushing myself," White said. "I’m always competing against myself."
Teen phenom Danny Davis took second with 89.7 points and last year’s champion, Mason Aguirre, finished in third place with 88.67 points.
"I lost it this year, but it’s not about winning," Aguirre said. "I’m just stoked for the show."
"Me and Mason are best friends," Davis said. "Its cool to ride with guys like Shaun and Mason. I’ve been watching them since I was 12."
On the women’s side, Aussie-born Torah Bright defended her title with an 89.33 first-place win. Both Bright and White took home $15,000 prize purses for their performances.
"I have fun. Competing for some people is tough," Bright said. "For me personally, really, you are going out and going to do what you know how to do best," said Bright about the secret to her success.
With the sun beating down on the Park City course, the athletes were forced to compete against conditions as well as each other. Loss of speed contributed to smaller air and numerous wipe outs for the athletes.
"The first hits are a little choppy," said fifth place finisher Keir Dillon.
White, who managed the pipe with expert skill, said his skateboarding background that gives him the advantage.
"There’s something about half-pipe I find a way to get speed," White said. "It comes from skateboarding."
Davis said that even though hitting the bigger trips at the top of the pipe was risky, it helped to maintain speed further down the course.
"That’s the cool thing," Davis said. "It’s the freedom to go for what you want."
Despite his celebrity status, White spent much of his timing signing autographs and talking with his young fans.
"I think the kids are the best part of the event," White said.
Davis said the large crowd also made for a great event.
"I can for sure hear them," Davis said. "Its fun to have people backing you."
A skiing competition in the pipe followed on Sunday with Simon Dumont edging out defending champion Tanner Hall with a score of 96.67. The win earned him a $15,000 prize purse as well. Hall took second with 95.33 points and Mike Riddle was third with 92.33 points.
For more information on the 2007 World Superpipe Championships, visit http://www.worldsuperpipe.com.
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