One of the baddest dudes to ever drop into a halfpipe just announced that he will be stepping away from the competition circuit for good. Olympic gold medal-winning halfpipe rider Iouri “iPod” Podladtchikov announced Sunday that he has retired from competition.
The Russian-born Swiss snowboarder has competed since 2000 and won the halfpipe gold medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi competing under the Russian flag. NBC Sports reports I-Pod missed 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.
Just two months later, he ruptured an Achilles tendon while at the world championships in Park City, requiring surgery. At age 31, Podladtchikov 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 mark the end of his career, though he in the back of his head he knew Laax could have marked his farewell.
His career highlight is no doubt the Sochi Olympics, where he landed his signature YOLO Flip, a cab double cork 1440, to spoil Shaun White’s Olympic gold three-peat. We wish him well in his retirement and will never forget his dominance in the halfpipe. Here’s that winning run from Sochi.