Winter Games Athletes
Podladtchikov, known on the snowboarding circuit as iPod, is one of the few athletes in the world who can match the skill of American superstar Shaun White in the halfpipe. Besides White, Podladtchikov is the only other person to successfully land a Double McTwist 1260 maneuver. Podladtchikov earned a score of 98.0 - the second highest in Winter X Games history - for the trick en route to gold in 2010. Podladtchikov, who was born in Russia and grew up in Switzerland, competed for Russia as a 17-year-old when he placed 37th at the Turin Games in 2006. He honed his skills with an impressive run on the TTR World Snowboard Tour, recording several top 10 finishes leading up to the Vancouver Games, where he made serious strides with a fourth-place finish while riding for Switzerland. Podladtchikov, considered one of the most progressive boarders in the world, took home silver at the 2012 X Games and won gold at the 2013 world championships. In his final tune-up before heading to Sochi, Podladtchikov - who will again compete for Switzerland - finished sixth at the X Games in January. He's received plenty of attention leading up to the Winter Olympics since originating the "Yolo Flip" - four full twists packed inside of two flips. The maneuver is a half-twist more than what White did when he took gold at Vancouver. Some believe pulling off that stunt could be what the 25-year-old needs to get to the top of the podium.