Shaun White Goes For Gold In Halfpipe At The Winter Olympics

By Bill Chappell

Shaun White of the U.S. warms up ahead of the men’s final in the snowboard halfpipe at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

David Ramos/Getty Images

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David Ramos/Getty Images

The U.S. team is hoping to add another gold medal in Snowboarding at the Winter Olympics in South Korea. But it’s not going to be easy for Shaun White and his teammates in the halfpipe. We’ll update this story with news from Pyeongchang.

Held one day after American Chloe Kim dominated the women’s halfpipe, the men’s final is a duel between White and Australia’s Scotty James — who came out strong on his first run, scoring a 92. But White stepped up with an incredible array of tricks, height and precision, soaring above the halfpipe and landing cleanly. The judges rewarded him with a 94.25.

White began celebrating immediately, ripping his helmet off and throwing it, his arms raised above his head.

A scary moment came early in the second and final run, when Japanese snowboarder Yuto Totsuka fell. The crowd looked on as a medical crew attended to him. Totsuka could be seen sitting up – but he was taken from the course on a stretcher sled after several minutes.

White missed out on a medal back in 2014, when he was hurt at the Sochi Games. If he wins big now, he would become the only snowboarder ever to win three gold medals at the Olympics.

White led a group of four American snowboarders who qualified for the finals of the men’s halfpipe at Phoenix Snow Park in Pyeongchang; joining him were Ben Ferguson, Chase Josey, and Jake Pates.

Josey was in third place after the first run, when he earned an 87.75.

Pates put down a strong second run, rebounding from a fall in his first attempt. He anxiously awaited the scoring, eyes glued on the board that would tell him if he had earned a shot at the podium. Pates got an 82.25 — not enough for a medal, but a result that made him smile, all the same.

White set a high bar in qualifying, posting a high score of 98.5. It turned out he needed that score to go into the finals on top – he beat James by less than two points. And Japan’s Ayumu Hiran, who’s just 19, was on their heels.

That gave White the advantage of dropping in last, knowing what he had to do to match his rivals.

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