Some online sportsbooks are listing the winter sports legend as a 1-2 favorite to win the gold medal. You rarely see an individual given these kind of odds on a betting line. And the whole situation is even crazier when you consider that his next closest competition, Switzerland’s Iouri Podladtchikov, carries distant 5-1 odds.
There’s good reason why White is such an overwhelming favorite in the halfpipe at Sochi: he was only beaten once in this event during the entire season. Furthermore, he’s captured the last two halfpipe Olympic gold medals, taking first in the 2006 Turin Games and another first in the 2010 Vancouver Games.
As for the guy who beat White this season, Greg Bretz, he only did so because White hurt his ankle and finished second. Even still, Bretz is worth some consideration because his odds are listed at 33-1. So if you’re looking for a decent low-risk, high-payoff bet, this isn’t a bad proposition.
Going back to White, the San Diego, California native spent most of his early years skateboarding, skiing and snowboarding. He befriended skateboarding legend Tony Hawk at a local skatepark and got some good coaching from his older friend. Hawk is a big reason why White was able to become a professional skateboarder by age 17. He’s since won five medals at the X Games, taking golds in the 2007 and ’11 “Vert” event.
White is much better known for his snowboarding skills these days. He’s earned 13 gold medals in the Winter X Games along with three silvers and two bronzes. From 2003-2006, he managed to win four straight Slopestyle events, before finally losing to Andreas Wiig and Teddy Flandreau in 2007.
As for his latest Olympic appearance, in Vancouver in 2010, White captured an easy victory in the halfpipe. During his second run, he tallied a score of 48.4, which isn’t far off the perfect score of 50.0. His next closest competitor scored a 45.0, which was 3.4 points behind White.