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Olympics

Snowboarder Shaun White delivers Animal run

By Deborah Charles

Cheered on by an ecstatic crowd and dubbed 'Shauntastic', White had recorded the highest score of the final on his first run, soaring several storeys above the halfpipe and launching a series of high-flying twisting flip moves.

Even though he did not need to improve his score, White took to the halfpipe one last time and proved he deserved his new nickname 'Animal'.

On his final descent White finished with his newly perfected Double McTwist 1260, a multiple twisting double backward flip ending in a blind landing, to earn the best score of the day of 48.4 points.

"It's a world stage so why not deliver something spectacular," White told reporters when asked why he tried the dangerous new trick though he did not need it to win. "I felt like I came all the way to Canada, talked about all about my tricks and it took blood, sweat and tears to land it. There it was.

"I wanted a victory lap that would be remembered."

White punched the air as he crossed the line before flopping down on to the snow. After catching his breath, he jumped back to his feet and tossed his board high into the air with one hand while pulling his helmet off with the other.

"Shaun White is the best rider for sure," said Peetu Piiroinen of Finland who nabbed the silver medal 3.4 points behind White. "Way better than any other riders -- doesn't matter if the pipe is bad or not, if he lands his run no one can get to him."

U.S. team mate Scott Lago, the bronze medalist, called White a perfectionist, a description White did not dispute.

"I put down the tricks I've worked so hard on," said White, who was pushed to perfect his newest move after losing out in a competition to compatriot Danny Davis.

Unlike the rest of the team, White had access to his own halfpipe -- a perk given to him by one of his sponsors which drew grumbles from other American riders who were used to the friendly group atmosphere of training together.

"Being Shaun White is not easy sometimes but it's definitely fun a lot of the times," White said. "It's cool,"

(additional reporting by Pritha Sarkar; Editing by Ed Osmond)