Who is Iouri Podladtchikov?
Name: Iouri Podladtchikov
2016/17 World Snowboard Tour ranking: 4th
- 2014 Olympic halfpipe gold medalist
- 4-time X Games halfpipe medalist (3 silver, 1 bronze)
- 2012 WST halfpipe season champion
Podladtchikov made his Olympic debut in 2006 as a member of the Russian delegation but finished just 37th thanks to an injury sustained the night before the halfpipe contest. After a nationality switch from Russia (where he was born) to Switzerland (where he had lived since age 8), he narrowly missed out on a medal in 2010 with a fourth-place finish. Returning to Russia in 2014 for the Sochi Games, I-Pod broke through in a big way, landing his cab double cork 1440 (aka the "YOLO flip") to earn gold and dethrone two-time reigning champion Shaun White.
In March 2017, Podladtchikov tore the ACL in his right knee. He's back training on snow, but at the moment, Shaun White and Scotty James look like the top favorites in men's halfpipe ahead of the 2018 Olympics. Still, a healthy I-Pod is always a podium threat and has the tricks to contend for gold again.
Podladtchikov combines strong amplitude with an ability to throw some of the most difficult tricks being done. After Shaun White unveiled the double McTwist 1260 in 2010, I-Pod was next to learn the trick. Podladtchikov then pioneered the cab double cork 1440, which became the make-or-break trick of the 2014 Olympics. He successfully included both tricks within his gold-medal run in Sochi.
As a child, Podladtchikov's family moved around a lot. Once they ended up in Zurich, when Podladtchikov was around 8 years old, he picked up snowboarding during a trip to the Swiss Alps. As he began to pursue a potential career in the sport, his parents were initially skeptical and remained so for many years, even after he had been invited to train at a winter sports school and even after he competed at his first Olympics. Over time, that disapproval eventually began to fade away.
At X Games Tignes in March 2013 — less than 12 months before the start of the Sochi Olympics — Podladtchikov landed the cab double cork 1440 in competition for the first time. It was a new trick that not even Shaun White had ever tried before, and it ended up helping him win Olympic gold.
Although Podladtchikov hasn't won any major contests since the last Olympics, he has remained a regular visitor to the podium. Among his top results were bronze at X Games Aspen in 2015 and silver at X Games Oslo a year later. On the side, he has taken ballet classes, which he hopes will translate to his snowboarding, and has started studying art history. He's also gained increased recognition for his photography exploits.
2016/17 season recap
The highlights of Podladtchikov's season included second place at the Copper Grand Prix, third place at the Laax Open and fourth place at the Burton U.S. Open. He capped the season by winning a silver medal at the world championships but also suffered a right ACL tear at the same contest after crashing on his final run. He has since gotten back on snow, landing his first post-surgery double cork in September (video below).
Off the snow
Podladtchikov is passionate about photography, especially fashion photography, and has been working toward an art history degree. Like many snowboarders, he also enjoys skateboarding when he's on solid ground.