VANCOUVER (Reuters) - As Shaun White chewed on a slice of succulent steak, the American showman had visions of the gravity-defying trick that landed him an Olympic halfpipe gold medal on Wednesday.
“I was eating two steaks. The first one was in New York and it was called the double eagle. I thought this is an amazing name for a trick,” grinned the American who is called the “Animal”.
“Then I was in Aspen and had a steak call the Tomahawk. It was like a big boned Tomahawk, 30oz. I finished it.”
While other champion athletes such as figure skater Yevegeny Plushenko put in hours in training to try out new maneuvers, that ritual is simply too boring for a man who stands out from a crowd thanks to his distinctive long red curls.
His Eureka moment in Colorado enabled White to name a high-flying acrobatic jump in which he performs a multiple twisting double backward flip ending in a blind landing.
He did not even need to fly into orbit as he had already bagged the gold medal with his first run but thought he had to do something special because it was the Olympics.
“It (the jump) is my friend and my enemy, I show up one day and feel great and can put it down any time I want. Another day I show up and I can’t even attempt it,” said the 23-year-old, who became the first snowboarder to win back-to-back halfpipe titles.
”This season has been unlike any season I’ve ever had before. I’ve crashed more than I’ve ever had, I’ve been frustrated, I’ve lost sleep, I’ve pushed myself as far as I can go. Not only invent all this tricks then to actually do them and use them to win.
”I came all the way out to do something amazing and I thought that was the right victory lap.
Just to make sure that he had wowed all those had witnessed his wizardry on 22-feet high halfpipe, he asked his captive audience: “Did you like the trick? I‘m working hard on it guys.”
With his work done for at least another four years, White was ready to go back to his day job of working the celebrity circuit.
“Being Shaun White is not easy sometimes but it’s definitely fun a lot of the times. It’s cool. Being me is a strange thing sometimes and I‘m trying to get a grasp on it even now,” said White, who topped Forbes’ list of top earning Winter Olympians after banking more than $8 million last year.
But before doing that, he was off to cash in on a promise.
“The owner (of the Aspen restaurant) said if I played video games with his son, I‘m going to have free Tomahawk’s for life. I‘m going to go back and claim that because it was delicious,” he said.
Editing by Ed Osmond