Louie Vito Ready to Go "Air Dancing" in Olympic Halfpipe
If you were bummed that Louie Vito finished last at the Winter X Games after falling on all three of his superpipe runs, don't be. "I'm just getting it all out of my system," the 21-year-old snowboarder jokes to TVGuide.com. "Now I won't fall in Vancouver." Armed with two versions of the must-have trick of the season — the double cork 1080 — Vito, who finished eighth on Dancing with the Stars last season, is ready to continue the United States' domination in the Olympic halfpipe. Get the scoop on which tricks he's planning to throw, why he will be tweeting throughout the games and what he wants to take from Apolo Anton Ohno.
Catch the men's halfpipe Wednesday at 8/7c on NBC.
TVGuide.com: Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Tony Dovolani came out to the X Games for you. What was it like having your Dancing buddies there?
Louie Vito: Yeah, that was really awesome. I was so stoked to see them. Maks' brother, Val, came too. We've been talking about it for a while. It was cool for them to come into my world a little bit and see what everything's all about, see me in my element since until then we only knew each other through what they did best. We had a lot of fun.
See the most memorable moments from past Olympics
TVGuide.com: You tried a 1440 (four revolutions) there. Are you going to throw one in Vancouver?
Vito: I can probably do it, but I don't know if it's necessary. If I do a good front[side] 1260, it's probably better than the 14, so I might just save it. We've got qualifiers and they have a crazy format where they take the top six from the heat into the final and then they have semifinals [to qualify another six] and then finals, so I could potentially do six runs. I've got an idea in my head of the run I want to do. I have a plan for the final. But it depends on what happens during the competition. You've got to leave it all out there.
TVGuide.com: You're one of the few with the double corks. Do you think they're absolutely necessary to get on the podium?
Vito: It's definitely necessary to have at least one, but it also comes down to who lands a clean run. You can be flying out of the pipe 10 feet bigger than anyone else, then that is as good as a double cork in some cases. I'm definitely happy that it's something in my repertoire because I know it gives me an edge. It's an Olympic year and everyone's stepping up. And you may throw in a 12 in a qualifying run, but not use it in the final. It gives you some goals to achieve and pushes you to step up.
TVGuide.com: Are you more cautious with double corks after Kevin Pearce's injury? [Pearce suffered a traumatic brain injury while practicing a double cork. Get an update on him here.]
Vito: It's definitely a bummer because I'm really close to him, but Kevin doesn't want any restrictions on snowboarding and that's why he's one of the best snowboarders in the world. It's an unfortunate event, but it just makes us want to push that much harder and ride that much better for him. He wouldn't want us to hold back. ... He's doing a lot better. It's going to be a long road, but he's making progress every day.
Check out the Olympic athletes to keep an eye on in Vancouver
TVGuide.com: Shaun White has the double McTwist 1260. Is that something you've thought about learning?
Vito: I'm sure I can do it if I wanted to learn it, but I don't ... have a foam pit to land in and chill. [Laughs] [White's sponsor, Red Bull, built him a private pipe to train in last summer.] But it's great for him. It's not something I'm concerned about learning now right before the Olympics. I'm just concentrating on myself and what I know.
TVGuide.com: You've talked about how Dancing made you mentally tougher. Is there anything else you learned from dancing that's proved to be valuable in snowboarding?
Vito: It just kind of showed me that I can actually do a lot of things and to push myself. I never thought I would be able to do that, and I did, so that was cool. I hope they get another extreme sports person [to participate]. I bet they'd have it easier with the judges than I did. [Laughs] It'd be great because it would be someone else I could talk to about it and they'd understand everything I did.
TVGuide.com: Have you had Dancing fans tell you that they're going to follow snowboarding and watch it in the Olympics because of you?
Vito: Oh, man, so many! That's something that makes me feel great. There's a whole new group of fans and viewers now. They can watch me go air dancing.
Olympic Moment: Ohno skates by spill into history
TVGuide.com: You've coerced some of your teammates to get Twitter. Why?
Vito: Well, I get a lot of heat from them for how much I use Twitter [@louievito] — compared to them I do it a lot! But I think it's a cool thing to do. Snowboarding's all about having friends. It's good for them and it's good for people who support you. They want to know what you're doing. It's a way to connect with the fans. I'm going to tweet up a storm during the games — pics and everything! I got Scotty [Lago, @scottylago] and Greg [Bretz, @gregbretzz] to do a U-Stream with me. We're going to try to do more of those.
TVGuide.com: Which events do you want to check out?
Vito: Besides boardercross, of course — we always support each other — we're going to try to see some figure skating, some hockey, and I'm sure a bunch more.
TVGuide.com: Any athlete you want to meet?
Vito: Probably Apolo just so I can be made fun of by him because he did so much better than me on Dancing with the Stars! [Laughs] And then I'm going to try to steal his headband.