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WMG’s Wallace scores unlikely coup with halfpipe gold medalist

Snowboarder’s longtime agent watches in disbelief as ‘I-Pod’ dethrones White

Wasserman Media Group's Circe Wallace hugs Iouri Podladtchikov after his gold medal.
Moments after Shaun White fell in his final run and Iouri Podladtchikov won the gold medal in men’s halfpipe, Wasserman Media Group’s Circe Wallace pushed her way through a barricade at the base of the pipe and gave him a hug.

“You did it!” she said, her eyes wide with disbelief. “I can’t believe it you f---king did it”

Wallace’s disbelief was genuine. No one at the halfpipe thought Shaun White’s reign atop the medal podium would end. Not her. Not Podladtchikov. Not U.S. Snowboarding.

The likelihood White would three-peat was so great and concerns about security in Sochi so were so high that Wallace nearly decided not to come to the Winter Games.

“I am so happy I came,” she said later. “I mean, he toppled the throne.”

Wallace has been representing snowboarders for 15 years, and Podladtchikov — who goes by the nickname “I-Pod” — is her second gold medalist. She also represents Australian Torah Bright, who won the women’s halfpipe gold in 2010. But Podladtchikov’s gold medal is one she and everyone else will remember forever because it brought an end to White’s reign in Olympic halfpipe.

As Podladtchikov wove his way through a media area, fielding questions from broadcasters and print journalists, Wallace stood off to the side and listened. Her blonde hair was pulled back in a pony tail. She had on a black puffy coat, black jeans and black leather biker gloves with silver buckles at her wrists.

“This is kind of a big deal,” she said. “Shaun’s had it for so long. It’s anyone’s game for second or third usually, but to win ….” She paused, looked at Podladtchikov and shook her head with disbelief. “It’s huge!”

Wallace wasn’t sure what endorsement opportunities there might be for Podladtchikov, but she’s optimistic that some will come through. He already has deals with Quiksilver, Vans, Monster Energy and GoPro. She plans to work with his coach, Marco Bruni, and look for opportunities with U.S., European and Russian companies.

'I-Pod' was able to end Shaun White's reign in Olympic halfpipe.
Podladtchikov was born in Russia and moved to Switzerland at a young age. He rides for the Swiss team, but he is known well enough in Russia that fans chanted “Ruuu-sii-yaaa! Ruuu-sii-yaaa!” when he won.

“It remains to be seen what the interest will be (in Russia), but the hope is it’s a global story,” said Wallace, who has represented Podladtchikov since 2006, when he was 17 years old. “He speaks the language. He loves Russia. He says he’s Russian in his heart. He rides with the Swiss team.”

When asked what her selling point for Podladtchikov was, Wallace shrugged and turned his way. He was still chattering away with the press about how he never thought he would win.

“Look at him,” she said. “His cheek bones. Winning in Russia. Beating Shaun. Yeah, beating Shaun.”

A woman with the International Olympic Committee tapped Wallace on the shoulder and looked toward Podladtchikov.

“You want me to get him?” Wallace asked. She reached over and grabbed his arm. It was time for his drug testing.

“OK,” she said, “let’s go.”

As she led him through a gated corral away from the media, Podladtchikov threw his head back and roared. Wallace glanced back at him over her shoulder. She shook her head. No way. No freaking way.

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Related Topics:

Wasserman Media Group, Olympics

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