Shaun White wins Winter Olympics halfpipe gold in Pyeongchang

White claims gold in thrilling halfpipe contest
XXIII Olympic Winter Games
Venue: Pyeongchang, South Korea Dates: 9-25 February
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV, Red Button, Connected TVs, BBC Sport website and mobile app. Full coverage times

American great Shaun White sensationally snatched halfpipe gold, denying Japanese teenager Ayumu Hirano with a superb final run in Pyeongchang.

19-year-old Hirano had landed back-to-back 1440s in his second attempt to overtake White with a score of 95.25.

But with the pressure on, 31-year-old White delivered a faultless 97.75 to secure his third Olympic halfpipe gold.

“I was so overwhelmed with happiness, I’ve been through so much to get here,” said a tearful White.

“Waiting for my final score was awful and amazing at the same time. I knew I did a great ride and I was proud of that and I could walk away with my head high.”

White becomes the first snowboarder to win three Olympic titles.

It was also the United States’ 100th gold in Winter Olympic history – only Norway with 121 have more – and their fourth in snowboarding in Pyeongchang.

White threw his helmet into the crowd in celebration after his first run, but was forced to find more by Hirano

White, known as ‘Flying Tomato’ because of his red hair, had overcome two heavy crashes in training in the build-up to the Games.

He had 62 stitches in a face wound suffered in a crash in New Zealand in October after injuring his shoulder the previous month.

However, he showed he was back to his best with only the second-ever perfect score of 100 in January’s US Grand Prix.

Hirano, who earned silver at the Sochi as a 15-year-old, had to settle for the same again

“I actually did the same trick that injured me here in the halfpipe today,” added White.

“Honestly it’s one of the most challenging runs I’ve ever done. I didn’t even link the combination, the back-to-back 1440s until I got here, today, this morning.”

White, who won gold in 2006 and 2010 but finished out of the medals in Sochi, is now aiming to compete in the skateboarding event in the summer Games in Tokyo when the sport makes its debut in 2020.

World champion Australian Scotty James finished in third position with a score of 92.00.

The action had been held up for some time after Japanese rider Yuto Totsuka was taken away on a stretcher following a heavy fall.

Fellow Olympic legends hail White

Michael Johnson, a four-time Olympic champion on the track….
…and Michael Phelps, a 23-time Olympic champion in the pool, both paid tribute to White

Analysis

BBC snowboarding commentator Ed Leigh

Shaun White polarises opinion in snowboarding but that was an incredible display of halfpipe snowboarding and no-one can take that away from him.

Shaun White was truly tested for the first time in 12 years and he has delivered in some style. He has claimed the third and most important gold medal of his career.

Also on Wednesday

Four other golds will be won on Wednesday (all times GMT).

  • Nordic combined – men’s individual normal hill and men’s individual 10km – 06:00-06:55 & 08:45-09:45:
  • Speed skating – women’s 1,000m final – 10:00
  • Biathlon – women’s 15km individual – 11:05-13:00
  • Luge – doubles heats one and two – 11:20-13:25

However, the women’s slalom final, featuring American Mikaela Shiffrin, has been delayed until Friday because of high winds.

The conditions had already led to the postponement of the women’s slopestyle final earlier this week.

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