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Spin to win

10/15/2010

The 2010 Dew Tour pulls into Sin City this weekend and, at the moment, the big skate story is whether or not Pierre-Luc Gagnon will lock up his second Dew Cup on the massive vert ramp next to the pool at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. At present, PLG is way out in front in the overall rankings, with a 36-point lead over Bucky Lasek in second. Shaun White, the celebrity draw of the event, is in fifth place and 72 points behind PLG. White missed the first event of the tour in June due to an ankle injury and, while he's not mathematically eliminated from the Dew Cup, PLG would have to finish last for White to even have a chance at overtaking the rest of the field with a win.

But White could change the storyline of the weekend with one trick.

For much of the vert competition season, White has been pulling his signature trick, the Armadillo -- frontside heelflip body-varial 540 -- and he even attempted a few 900s at the last Dew Tour stop in Salt Lake City last month. Though he's never pulled a 900 on a skateboard, White has attempted to leapfrog the trick in the past by going straight for a trick that's never been landed in skateboarding: the 1080. White hasn't attempted the trick in public since X Games 12 in 2006; he didn't try a 1080 in 2007 or 2008, and he skipped the event in 2009 to prepare for the 2010 Winter Olympics. White returned to X Games in 2010 and took second place behind the technical juggernaut Gagnon despite pulling his Armadillo in front of a wildly enthusiastic crowd.

Also at this past summer's X Games, Vert Best Trick was reintroduced into the competition, presumably to entice White to once again pursue the 1080 for a live television audience. White said as much in an interview with ESPN's Alyssa Roenigk in late July: "I assume that's why they put the event back in," he told her. "But I don't have any plans to do the 10 right now. I'm not there yet."

White was nowhere to be found during the X Games 16 Vert Best Trick and the fans were left to speculate why he'd chosen not to compete in the discipline. But White has been practicing on a private ramp since at least early July -- and those who follow his snowboarding career know what happens when White commits some hard yards to training away from the public eye. Is it possible that he's finally gotten the trick dialed in just in time for the Dew Tour finals?

White appeared on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" on Oct. 6, ostensibly to promote his new video game "Shaun White Skateboarding." But, being no stranger to the celebrity news cycle, White took the opportunity to discuss this weekend's event, as well. He also made a point to joke about how skateboarders sometimes consider him to be just a snowboarder.

What could be a better way for a "snowboarder" selling a skateboard video game to silence detractors than by making history with a trick that no one else in skateboarding has ever done?

Will it go down in Vegas? Time to place your bets.