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Get to know halfpipe champ Iouri ‘I-Pod’ Podladtchikov

Iouri Podladtchikov

Switzerland’s Iouri Podladtchikov celebrates after he won the gold medal in the men’s snowboard halfpipe final at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Jae C. Hong

From a competitive snowboarding standpoint, it’s fair to say that Iouri “I-Pod” Podladtchikov defined himself by how he compared to Shaun White. He more or less admits as much in this video.

“I just want to beat Shaun. I don’t want anything else,” Podladtchikov said before the halfpipe event. “If he gets fourth, I want to be at least third. Hell, if he gets fourth, I want to win.”

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Yet, as a person, there’s a lot more to Podladtchikov than just that stunning gold medal run.

The 25-year-old has had his ... wild moments. He’s an avid photographer. Podladtchikov also isn’t afraid to acknowledge the amount of ego involved in high-level athletics, as he said to NZZ.

“You can think that about me if you like,” Podladtchikov said. “Everyone in the public eye likes reveling in their achievements. Everyone who stands for something and wants to make something of themselves wants to see the effect of what they do. And anyone who says any differently is lying. Why should you not want to share something you see as defining your life with the world?”

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On Tuesday, the snowboarding world saw him where he envisioned himself: above White, and with gold.

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Follow James O’Brien @cyclelikesedins