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White didn't steal the show, he is the show

WEST VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Shaun White could see fans packed in the stands at the bottom of the hill ready for snowboarding's greatest showman to do his thing.

Only he couldn't. Not for a minute anyway.

His second Olympic halfpipe gold medal already won, White turned to U.S. Snowboarding coach Mike Jankowski and told him, "I can't snowboard right now." So he didn't.

He flew instead.

Laying down a victory lap for the ages, White landed - barely - his latest invention: the Double McTwist 1260. White has renamed the trick - which requires him to cram two board-over-head flips inside of 31/2 turns - "The Tomahawk."

Another word for it: Impossible.

He'd kept it out of his first run intentionally, opting for a safer routine that helped him post a score of 46.8, a number none of the other 11 riders in the final came close to challenging. Yet he hadn't done all that work, sacrificed all those hours, dealt with all that pain to stop now.

The competition was over. The world was watching.

With Guns N' Roses' "Paradise City" blasting, White knew it was time to rock the house.

"I like to put on a show and show everybody what I can do," White said.

"It's impossible to beat Shaun unless he falls," silver medalist Peetu Piioroinen said.

"Tonight was about pulling all the stops on my last run and doing something that's never been done before," White said.

Winning isn't enough anymore. He wants to be at the forefront, propelling snowboarding into the future.

"Shaun's a living legend with what he's done already and with what he's going to continue to do and really push this sport to the next level," Jankowski said. "It's the all-American way. It's being a pioneer and taking those steps into the unknown."

In January, White went to Utah and to put finishing touches on "The Tomahawk." He unveiled it in Park City, posting scores of 49 and 49.5 - within a point of perfection.

Performing the trick at the Winter X Games, he suffered a vicious wipeout when his face hit the deck in practice. He bounced back to win gold.

Even for a veteran, White had the jitters when he arrived for the Olympics. He simply tried to survive his qualifying heat, putting together a conservative run so he could focus on the finals. Once there, he was all business, in the most sensational way.

When's the show going to end? White says he likely has another Olympics in him.

"We try to break the boundaries and see what we can do," White said. "I think we're just tapping into what is possible. I wish I could predict the future. We have to go create it."

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