THE DUDE KYLE MACK!!! Sorry for yelling, but man is it hard to keep quiet after a month long Olympic sponsor blackout. We are back and stoked to report that the legend continues. Just prior to the black out, we put out a post (Linked here) about the insane journey that Kyle had to go on just to get to the Olympics. And while Kyle, David (Co-founder of DIVERT) and myself (Co-founder of DIVERT) all told ourselves a little white lie, that went something like, “This is already a win. No matter what happens we’re good, you made it dude,” deep down we all knew that the job was far from done. We all knew Kyle had the ability to show the world he had it. That intangible ability to get put in the pressure cooker, and come out a champ on the other side. Here’s the teaser, in typical Mack fashion, he took a slam that lit the fire to his eventual victory.
Let’s pick it up where we left off. Kyle won the final Olympic qualifying event of the year at the US Grand Prix in Mammoth and once the dopamine high from the win had worn off, the whirlwind of planning, booking and making moves to South Korea ensued. He touched down, got a few days to acclimate, and it was back to the grind. He had to get prepped for both events he qualified for simultaneously, Slopestyle and Big Air.
First up was slopestyle, arguably Kyle’s stronger event of the two. High hopes and Olympic pressure loomed. Qualifying day came... and went for Kyle. Our boy went a little too hard in qualifiers and instead of landing a safety run to get him through, he went for a triple cork on the last jump of his final run, under-rotated, and wiped out. Unable to put down a full run in qualifiers Kyle watched as his most likely chance at medaling in this Olympics slipped through his finger tips. Yet again, his Olympic dream loomed eerily close, but instead evaporated.
Photo of Kyle Mack Under rotating a Triple 1440 on his third and final slopestyle qualifying run. Image taken from AZCENTRAL.
Last Friday was Kyle’s day of reckoning. The odds were stacked against him yet again. Everyone has to pick a lane when training for the Olympics, and many of the guys that showed up for this event chose Big Air as their focus, Kyle did not. This could discourage the hell out of you, it could put an L on your forehead before you even strap in, but as we know, that’s not Kyle’s style. Instead, he put on his space suit like Neil F***ing Armstrong and decided to blast off. BAM just like that, qualified second in his heat. The fall in slopestyle was exactly what he needed for two reasons. It shook the Olympic jitters out of him, and made it clear that getting numbers on the board is most important, but the job was only half done.
Kyle qualified second in his heat one, but when you looked at the scores from the heat two, his run wouldn’t have even qualified if he had been placed differently. Another tick on the chalkboard against the kids confidence on the path to victory. He stuck to the plan. First run, stomped his signature triple cork 1440 Japan, landing him a solid 82. He earned himself a sigh of relief and some breathing room to push the limit on the next two runs. And that’s exactly what he did. Before he dropped for his second run, a thousand thoughts ran through his head, “should I do the bloody dracula? Maybe I should just do a tail grab, man do I like pizza.” When he turned his board down hill one feeling remained, his undying commitment to bring style back to snowboarding.
Kyle Mack landing the first ever Bloody Dracula 1440 in competition to eventually win the Olympic Silver medal in South Korea. Photo taken from ESPN.com
Riding down the landing, the silence continued, until eventually the roar of the crowd flowed through his mind like a tsunami, he was back to reality. He had gotten out there and laid it all on the line. He had pushed his own limit. He hyped himself, he hyped the crowd, he was all the way up… then he had to take a seat and play the inevitable waiting game to see if his scored would hold up. Max parrot fell, then Mark McMorris, then a few others. Chris Corning stomps a run, we look to the judges, his position still held. Carlos Garcia Knight falls then Billy Morgan with a heavy attack of the podium, but gets placed third. Through it all, the tale of the Bloody Dracula stood the test of time in the pursuit of, if you can believe it, Silver.
The kid had done it. Through the missed 2014 Olympic opportunities, the injuries, the last second qualification, the Olympic slopestyle fail, the stacked competition, none of it mattered now. He had done it, and he had done it for snowboarding.
Kyle, you epitomize what DIVERT is about, you Achieved Your I’mpossible, and you told the world that day that no matter what stands in your way, go and f***ing get it. This is the start of your residence in the winners circle. Welcome to the top dawgie. You look good up there!
Written By: Zach Adamson
Sean co-founded the non-profit, “A Walk on Water”, which specializes in Ocean and Surf Therapy for people needing the healing powers of the ocean. A Walk on Water was founded in 2012 by four men who shared the belief that the ocean’s healing powers could help people. They all had a passion for Surf Therapy and giving back, so they wanted to make it accessible to children who needed it in the USA.