The Flying Tomato is flying high tonight.
Shaun White won gold at men’s halfpipe for his third Olympic gold medal Tuesday, completing a remarkable comeback after failing to medal at the Sochi Games and suffering a devastating injury while training for the Olympics in October 2017.
In a thrilling showdown between White and Japanese snowboarder Ayumu Hirano, White earned gold in his third and final run with a score of 97.75, besting Ayumu’s second-run score of 95.25. It was the 100th gold medal in Winter Olympics history for Team USA.
In movie-scripted dramatic fashion, the competition came down to White as the third and final rider. The 31-year-old decorated Olympian already had silver locked up with a first-run score of 94.25, but still trailed Hirano for gold.
White proceeded to reclaim gold, posting a near-perfect run that included back-to-back 1440s, a flawless Double McTwist 1260 and a frontside 1260. As he finished his run, White ripped his goggles off and exclaimed in jubilance.
Shortly after his final score was announced, White burst into tears and immediately hugged his parents who were in attendance.
At first it appeared White had the gold medal wrapped up with his first run, posting an impressive score of 94.25 to quickly jump out to first place.
White posted a frontside double-cork 1440 on his very first hit before hitting a Double McTwist 1260 followed immediately by a frontside 1260.
Hirano then one-upped White with a flawless second run, landing back-to-back 1440s followed by back-to-back 1260s to score a 95.25 on his second run.
White wasn’t able to match Hirano’s success in the second run, falling to the ground after attempting a Double McTwist 1260, leading to the dramatic third run finish.
Australian Scotty James earned silver with a best score of 92.00. Fellow Americans Ben Ferguson and Chase Josey failed to medal, finishing with best scores of 90.75 and 88.00, respectively.
While White is now once again on top of the snowboarding world, his career was in doubt after he crashed into the edge of a superpipe while training for the Olympics in Cardrona, New Zealand. The gruesome injury resulted in White needing 62 stitches to repair his face after he was evacuated by helicopter to a nearby hospital.
White said while the injuries didn’t impact his physical ability to train, they were jarring mentally.
White, the most decorated snowboarder in history, now sports three Olympic gold medals and 13 X Games gold medals.
The U.S. has now swept the halfpipe event at the Winter Olympics, with White winning the men’s competition and 17-year-old Chloe Kim winning gold at the women’s halfpipe event. With seven total medals, including four gold, the U.S. trails Norway, the Netherlands, Canada and Germany in the standings.
Send a Letter to the Editor