Iouri Podladtchikov YOLO celebration
Iouri Podladtchikov celebrates in the halfpipe final (FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)
Iouri Podladtchikov — the newly annointed Olympic snowboard king often simply referred to as IPOD — was also the acronym king Tuesday. I-POD. YOLO. FTW.
Translated: Podladtchikov landed his famed YOLO flip for only the second time en route to winning the gold medal in the men's halfpipe competition at the Sochi Games. It was only the second time I-POD had landed the YOLO flip and the first time he'd done it and also claimed a gold medal. For the win. Literally.
[Photos: Olympic crush: Sarah Hendrickson]
The YOLO flip is a switch frontside double cork 1440. It stands for "You Only Live Once"— a refrain made famous by hip-hop softie Drake. Podladtchikov invented the YOLO flip and landed it last March at the X Games (see GIF below, look at all those flips!) but wiped out at the end of his run, and thus didn't get a gold. He hadn't been able to land it again. Until Tuesday.
As Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan notes, Podladtchikov was brave to even try the YOLO flip, considering the rough conditions of the halfpipe at Khutor Extreme Park. But Podladtchikov — who is Russian born and representing Switzerland in the games — was trying to dethrone two-time Olympic champion Shaun White, who has never been able to land the YOLO flip.
Podladtchikov hadn't tried it in nearly a month, and to attempt it in this miserable excuse for a halfpipe spoke to the sort of buoyancy with which he rode. Nothing — not the specter of White, not his own awful practice runs, and certainly not some slush on the flat bottom and kinks in the walls — could separate him from his version of the Sochi Games.
After landing the flip, winning his gold and I-POD told ESPN's Alyssa Roenigk:
"I knew I needed to pull out all my tricks. When I landed the backside double [cork], I was like, 'You're not going to fall on the YOLO flip. It's not going to happen. It's all there for you.' That YOLO flip felt so good."
Good, because some people had whispered that I-POD might never land it again (YOLO actually stood for "You Only Land Once," they mused). And it felt good because landing the flip again earned him a gold medal.
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