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Iouri Podladtchikov
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Iouri Podladtchikov ends competitive snowboarding career

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Iouri Podladtchikov, the only man other than Shaun White to win an Olympic halfpipe title in the last four Winter Games, said Sunday that he retired from competition, confirming a report from his native Switzerland.

Podladtchikov, the 2014 Olympic gold medalist known as I-Pod, had few contests since missing the PyeongChang Winter Games after suffering a traumatic brain injury and cerebral hemorrhages in a Winter X Games crash two weeks before the Olympics.

In December 2018, Podladtchikov suffered a concussion and broken nose in a crash at his comeback event in China.

Two months later, he ruptured an Achilles tendon while at the world championships in Park City, requiring surgery and ultimately becoming the biggest challenge of his career, according to Sunday’s report in Tages Anzeiger.

Yet Podladtchikov, 31, returned to compete one last time at the Laax Open, the biggest annual contest in Switzerland, last January, placing fifth. He didn’t want an injury to determine the end of his career, though he knew that Laax could have marked his farewell, he said, according to Tages Anzeiger.

His career highlight was undoubtedly the Sochi Olympics, where he overcame a slushy halfpipe to land his signature YOLO Flip, a cab double cork 1440, to spoil White’s Olympic three-peat bid. White, a friend, finished fourth.

“I can’t tell you how special this is,” Podladtchikov, who was born in Russia and competed as a Russian at his first Olympics in 2006, told NBC that night. “The people are yelling in Russian, and I’m yelling back in Russian.”

It marked Podladtchikov’s last major win. Earlier in his career, Podladtchikov won the 2013 World title and finished runner-up at the X Games in Aspen in 2010 and 2012.

Podladtchikov, who speaks four languages, was also known for an array of interests. He did photography, trained ballet and studied art history at the University of Zurich.

White took back the Olympic crown in 2018 in Podladtchikov’s absence and is expected to bid for the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing.

MORE: Why did Shaun White cut his hair? Carrot Top

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Why did Shaun White cut his hair? Carrot Top

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Shaun White said a revelatory chat with Carrot Top led to the Olympic snowboarding champion chopping off his flowing red locks more than seven years ago, according to a report.

“I went to an event in Vegas where I run into Carrot Top,” White wrote, according to a Bleacher Report AMA last Wednesday. “We were talking about our hair and he basically looked at me like you could see into his soul and he basically said he was stuck like this. And at that point it was like seeing the ghost of Christmas future. And at that point I was like omg I can change.”

White documented a meeting with Carrot Top on social media in September 2013, but that was 10 months after the haircut. They must have met in 2012, too.

White, formerly known as the Flying Tomato, posted video of the haircut in December 2012, saying he didn’t tell anybody beforehand. He had grown tired of the nickname.

He donated the hair to Locks of Love, which makes wigs for needy children.

White is known for charitable efforts for children, including with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and the St. Jude Children’s Hospital. White was born with a heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot, requiring two major surgeries before his first birthday.

White, a 33-year-old who recently changed his hair color to blond, announced in February that he ended a bid to make the first U.S. Olympic skateboarding team for the Tokyo Games.

He is expected to compete for a spot in the 2022 Winter Olympics, where he could be the oldest U.S. Olympic halfpipe rider in history.

MORE: White, Shiffrin among dominant Winter Olympians of 2010s

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Alex ‘Chumpy’ Pullin, Olympian, world champion snowboarder, drowns in spearfishing accident

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Alex “Chumpy” Pullin, an Olympian and world champion snowboarder, drowned while spearfishing on Australia’s Gold Coast on Wednesday.

A police spokesperson said a 32-year-old man, later identified as Pullin, was unresponsive when taken from the water and died despite receiving CPR from lifeguards and emergency treatment from paramedics.

The accident happened at Palm Beach around 10:40 a.m. local time. Pullin had been diving on an artificial reef when he was found by a snorkeler.

“Another diver was out there and located him on the sea floor and raised the attention of nearby surfers who sought lifeguards to bring him in,” police said. “He didn’t have an oxygen mask. We understand he was free diving and spearfishing out on the reef.”

Pullin competed in Olympic snowboard cross in 2010, 2014 and 2018 with a best finish of sixth. He won back-to-back world titles in 2011 and 2013. He carried Australia’s flag at the Sochi Olympic Opening Ceremony in 2014.

“We are all in shock today as one of the most beloved members of our close snow sport community, Chumpy, has sadly lost his life in what appears to be a tragic accident,” Snow Australia CEO Michael Kennedy said in a statement. “He was a mentor to so many of our younger snowboarders, giving up his time to coach and provide advice to our future Olympians. His loss will be felt right across our community.

“We know it won’t just be here in Australia that Chumpy’s legacy will be remembered, but throughout the international snowboarding community. It wasn’t just his ability to deliver results that will be missed, but his leadership and the path that he laid for so many.”

His parents owned a ski and snowboard shop in the Australian Alps, where Pullin began riding at age 8. Older friends gave him the nickname “Chumpy,” and it stuck.

Pullin, who spent time as a frontman for the surf-reggae band love Charli, often brought a guitar with him while traveling for competitions.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.