Snowboard legend Shaun White pulled off a spectacular final run of the day to grab his third Olympic halfpipe gold medal today, claiming Americas 100th Winter Games title in the process. The Flying Tomato threw his board in the air when his winning score flashed, setting off a delirious celebration.
But Hirano went in front in run two with a score of 95.25, which included back-to-back 1440s - two consecutive jumps spinning through 1440 degrees - seen as one of the hardest tricks in the sport.
Afterwards, he credited his rivals, including Australian Scotty James who took the bronze, with keeping him on his toes.
White won his first Olympic gold medal at age 19 at the 2006 Turin Olympics.
NBC has been celebrating White and his quest to make history with a third gold medal win, though the network was called out this week for failing to acknowledge that the athlete settled a sexual harassment suit in 2017. Finally someone in the crowd got it back down to him, but without the lens.
Both White and Hirano laid down back-to-back double cork 1440s, whilst James, who was Australia's flag bearer at Pyeongchang's opening ceremony, has been focusing on his switch backside double cork 1260. "I knew I did a great ride and I was proud of that and I could walk away with my head high, but when they announced my score and Id won, it crippled me", he said.
That could have been the last time White, 31, competes on the Olympic stage.
During a brief change of focus in White's victorious press conference he was forced to confront previous allegations of sexual harassment by the former drummer of his band "Bad Things".
But as the last man down he responded in emphatic fashion with a run he had never unveiled before to become the most successful Olympic snowboarder of all time.
"Ayumo put down an unbelievable run, and I knew I had to step it up", White told the BBC.
"I was so overwhelmed with happiness, I've been through so much to get here". So, honestly, I'm just so happy with my performance.
White also apologized for appearing to trail the U.S. flag through the snow during his celebrations. "I'm proud of the other riders for pushing me this whole time". "I had this insane injury in New Zealand where I busted my face open", he said.
The 17-year-olds Chloe Kim and Red Gerard, and fellow American Jamie Anderson, have all won in Pyeongchang, where competitors have struggled with blustery winds.
Watch Runs 1-3 below.
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