Podladtchikov says he could have won 'just with my looks'

Switzerland's Iouri Podladtchikov celebrates after the men's snowboard halfpipe final at the Rosa...

Switzerland's Iouri Podladtchikov celebrates after the men's snowboard halfpipe final at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park during the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 11, 2014. (AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE)

QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 9:22 AM ET

It seems snowboarders aren’t cut from the same Olympic mould.

Hours after winning Tuesday’s gold medal in the men’s halfpipe at the Sochi Games, Iouri "I-Pod" Podladtchikov of Switzerland offered the most entertaining press conference these Games have seen.

After dispatching two-time gold medallist Shaun White, Podladtchikov was asked if he could have won the competition without doing a high-risk move only he and his American counterpart can complete.

“Yes,” he started. “Just with my looks I could have won.”

White, of course, is one of the most hated Olympians in Sochi due to his tendency to seem rather self-absorbed.

But following eight years of White’s reign, it looks like the European who finally beat him might be even more of a character.

“I’m about to faint,” Podladtchikov said. “I haven’t seen gold yet, so I don’t believe it.”

The Russian-born Podladtchikov put together an electrifying display under the lights at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.

A score of 94.75 proved enough to see off a pair of daredevil Japanese teenagers as well as overwhelming favourite White's challenge for a third successive gold medal.

Fifteen-year-old Ayumu Hirano took silver with 93.50 to become the youngest Olympic medallist on snow, pipping his 18-year-old compatriot Taku Hiraoka, who grabbed bronze with 92.25.

White, one of the biggest names in winter sports, finished fourth after remarkably dropping two tricks on his first run and only managing 90.25 following a couple of stumbles on his second.

After days of controversy about the quality of the pipe, which only intensified when the warm weather turned some of the packed snow to slush, a packed house was treated to just over an hour of dizzying acrobatics and thrilling drama.

There were plenty of falls and errors in the opening round as the riders battled a bobbly surface.

Hirano, the youngest man in the field, somehow managed to cling on to his board and he was rewarded with the only score in the 90s, his 90.75 enough for the lead after all 12 riders had gone.

-With files from Reuters

 


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