While many of Shaun White’s halfpipe competitors can tell themselves they have a chance at gold at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Greg Bretz has a more tangible reason to believe: he actually beat him.
The 23-year-old edged the snowboarding icon in the first of five Olympic selection events during the Dew Tour iON Mountain Championships in December. Bretz didn’t lie, either; accomplishing such a feat has him brimming with confidence heading into Sochi, as he told NBC’s Skyler Wilder.
“I always want to win. Everyone always wants to win,” Bretz said. “My confidence level, this year especially, is through the roof. Beating Shaun [White] at [Dew Tour] definitely lit a fire under my butt and I’m just going with it.”
It’s producing the kind of swagger that prompts some to wonder if we’re about to witness a changing of the guard.
Bretz participated in the 2010 games, placing 12th and possibly getting some of the jitters out of the way, although he admits that considerable pressure just comes with the territory.
More than anything else, though, he believes that he’s just flat-out better now than he was at 19.
“My bag of tricks is greater. My riding has gotten better,” Bretz said. “I’m an all-around better snowboarder than I was in 2010.”
Even with his swagger at an all-time high, Bretz will need to empty out that bag of tricks to top a talented field headlined by White.