Shaun White Places Fourth in Final Competition; Ayumu Hirano Wins Halfpipe Gold

The snowboarding icon ends his career with a fourth-place finish in the men's halfpipe

Shaun White's legendary snowboarding career is over.

The 35-year-old placed fourth in the Olympic men’s halfpipe on Thursday, his final competition in the sport. Ayumu Hirano of Japan, who won silver at the last two Olympics, came away with gold and Scotty James of Australia took silver in a controversial finish.

White had the fourth-best score in qualifying, trailing Ayuma Hirano, James and Japan’s Ruka Hirano. In Thursday’s final, White fell on his final run and posted a score of 85.00 in his second run, trailing bronze medalist Jan Scherrer of Switzerland by 2.25 points.

White’s first Olympic gold came at the 2006 Turin Games, and he followed that up with another gold at the 2010 Vancouver Games. After falling off the podium in 2014, he rebounded with a triumphant victory at the 2018 PyeongChang Games. 

A near-miss of the podium marks the end of an era in snowboarding.

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Still, the battle at the top of the leaderboard created additional intrigue and contention. 

James earned a score of 92.50 on his second run and was immediately followed up by Ayumu Hirano. The two-time defending silver medalist seemingly had a better run, which included the first ever triple cork in Olympic halfpipe history, and should have moved into first place. However, the judges gave him a score of 91.75.

“This is going to end up being triple-gate,” NBC commentator Todd Richards said after the score was posted. “People are already going absolutely crazy about this.”

Whatever craziness Hirano might have been feeling about the score was channeled into his final run. The 23-year-old took things up a notch once again and landed another triple on his way to a 96.00, gold-clinching score.

The gold is Hirano’s third Olympic medal, while James got his second after earning bronze in PyeongChang.

Jan Scherrer earned his first Olympic medal with bronze in his third appearance.

Elsewhere in the competition, Team USA had two more competitors. Taylor Gold came in fifth-place with a 81.75 score in his first run, while Chase Josey jumped into seventh place with a 79.50 score in his third run.

Here are the final standings:

  1. Ayumu Hirano, Japan: 96.00
  2. Scotty James, Australia: 92.50
  3. Jan Scherrer, Switzerland: 87.25
  4. Shaun White, United States: 85.00
  5. Taylor Gold, United States: 81.75
  6. Valentino Guseli, Australia: 79.75
  7. Chase Josey, United States: 79.50
  8. Andre Hoeflich, Germany: 76.00
  9. Kaishu Hirano, Japan: 75.50
  10. Yuto Totsuka, Japan: 69.75
  11. Patrick Burgener, Switzerland: 69.50
  12. Ruka Hirako, Japan: 13.00
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