Olympics Notebook: White lands Double McTwist 1260 in practice

  • Associated Press
  • Tuesday, February 16, 2010 12:10am
  • SportsSports

WEST VANCOUVER, B.C. — Shaun White went head over heels twice, packed 3½ spins sideways into that jump and landed the whole thing perfectly, then slapped his snowboard on the ground to celebrate.

A winner, Shaun?

“You bet. Chicken dinner,” he said.

Part of an all-around good day of halfpipe training Monday for the Olympic favorite.

White goes for real on Wednesday, when he’ll try to win his second Olympic gold medal. He’s taking Tuesday off.

The riders have not been happy with the halfpipe, no big surprise given the warm, rainy weather that has plagued the Olympic trouble spot — Cypress Mountain — for months.

Early in Monday’s training, action was halted to fix an area toward the top of the pipe. As the workout progressed, the riders seemed more and more pleased with the feedback they were receiving.

“Yesterday, the walls were like this,” White said, kicking the sloppy slush at the bottom of the hill. “They hardened things up. If they can make the rest of the pipe like they’ve made the walls, it’ll be good.”

He was encouraged by the way he practiced his signature move, the Double McTwist 1260, and said he didn’t think the conditions on the halfpipe would prevent him from trying it.

“I’ve been practicing it,” he said. “So I might as well use it.”

Vonn fastest in practice

So much for the bad shin. American star Lindsey Vonn cast off her injury and posted the fastest time through the upper section of the course in an Olympic downhill training run Monday.

The women will ski the bottom section later Monday, following the conclusion of the men’s downhill race — the first Alpine competition at the Vancouver Games. Vonn finished in 1 minute, 30.75 seconds, which was 0.39 seconds faster than teammate Julia Mancuso.

Vonn bruised her right shin during practice in Austria on Feb. 2. She stayed off skis for more than a week, but tested the injury — with encouraging results — in an unofficial slalom training run Sunday.

The shin was a little tender Monday morning, but that was to be expected. And it didn’t seem to hurt her skiing.

“After skiing four runs of pretty good intensity slalom on salted snow, with the conditions the way they are here now, I think even if you had healthy shins, you’d probably have a sore shin today,” said Thomas Vonn, who serves as a coach and adviser to his wife. “She’s happy to be where she’s at, as opposed to where she was a couple of days ago.”

Chinese curlers get ready

Chinese curling official Li Dongyan insists he had no problem with Canadian-bred women’s coach Dan Rafael’s public criticism of team policy that keeps athletes from addressing the media before the Olympics start.

Li said Monday that Rafael is always one to offer his opinion, but it is Li who best understands the needs of the team and his country’s culture.

The move was to make sure the athletes kept their focus heading into their first Olympics.

“Yeah, he disagrees, but that’s considered a different culture and different age and experience,” Li said. “I think I know the players more than the coach, because he is Canadian. For Chinese culture, we are simple. They are a young team, just focus on curling. (He and I) talk a lot. I know his opinion. That’s not the opinion from me, because I’m in charge of the team.”

Pregnant on ice

Kristie Moore’s baby bump isn’t yet big enough to keep her from curling.

“So far, so good. I’m feeling great,” said the Canadian, who’s 5½ months along. “No problems.”

Skip Cheryl Bernard became concerned that Moore didn’t want to join her Canadian team last fall for the Olympic trials because it took some time to get an answer.

The thing was, Moore was early on in her pregnancy and had yet to tell even her family. Once she did, Moore gladly accepted the invite to be the alternate. And here she is on the Olympic ice. The Canadians are expected to contend for a medal at home.

Moore is due in late May but is waiting to be surprised by the baby’s gender.

Associated Press

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