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Australian Scotty James won silver in the snowboard halfpipe while Ayumu Hirano won the Japanese first-ever snowboard Olympic gold medal at the Beijing Games



Australian Scotty James won silver in the snowboard halfpipe while Ayumu Hirano won the Japanese first ever snowboard Olympic gold medal at the Beijing Games

Australia’s Scotty James has won silver in the snowboard halfpipe at the Beijing Winter Olympics, barely passing up gold in a thrilling finish. While Ayumu Hirano make Japanese sporting history on Friday when he won the country’s first-ever snowboard Olympic gold medal, taking the men’s halfpipe title at the Beijing Games.

Hoping to better his bronze from Pyeongchang 2018, James started to lead the pack after his second-run score of 92.50. In any case, a showdown lingered with Japanese star Ayumu Hirano, who fell into the second spot with a to some degree controversial second-run score of 91.75.

With James and Hirano the last two competitors up despite everything besting the standings, the gold was to go down to the final run. James vacillated, opening the door for Hirano, who burst through it with a mind-blowing run and score of 96.00.

“I’m very proud and happy with how it went and my team and everyone,” James told Channel Seven.

“I’m still really young. I still have a lot of vision. I’m very driven, and I made the joke before that I’ve got the bronze, I’ve got a silver and now I need to finish off my collection for the pool room with gold in Italy [in 2026].

“Italy is one of my favourite countries. I’ve already started the process, but for now, I will enjoy this and just be very happy.”

James likewise saved a shout-out for Hirano, who claimed his first Olympic gold after a few close shaves of his own.

“He’s an incredible rider and I really look forward to having many, many healthy battles with him in the future,” James said.

“You know, the guy got two silvers and as much as I was giving it my best shot, he had his head down all season to win the gold.

“I’m proud of him, but I’m obviously ready to fire up and answer back when I can.”

Switzerland’s Jan Scherrer claimed the bronze with an 87.25.

Fellow Australian Valentino Guseli dazzled in his maiden Olympics and completed 6th with the best score of 79.75.

In the interim American superstar Shaun White, broadly viewed as the best snowboarder ever and competing at his final Olympics, completed external the medals in the fourth spot with the best score of 85.00.

While Hirano scored 96.00 points in his third run with a spectacular display that incorporated a triple cork 1440, enough to separate him from Australian Scotty James who completed in the silver position with 92.50 at Genting Snow Park.

Hirano won snowboard halfpipe silver at the 2014 and 2018 Games, then, at that point, changed to skateboard and qualified for the Tokyo Olympics before this victorious re-visitation of his roots.

“It hasn’t sunk in yet but finally one of my childhood dreams has come true,” said Hirano. “I couldn’t end without getting this one, I gave everything.”

Jan Scherrer of Switzerland won bronze while the other Japanese had a horror morning in China, Hirano’s brother Kaishu completing ninth, Yuto Totsuka tenth, and Ruka Hirano twelfth.

Ayumu’s triple cork 1440 was the first landed in an Olympic competition, and he did it on each run.

His ideal second trip down the halfpipe looked gold-worthy, yet the judges thought it just deserved 91.75, which left Ayumu in second behind James. The score was met with loud boos from the observers at the venue and derision online.

Ayumu took things into his own hands in his final run, putting down the triple cork 1440 impeccably again and throwing in two more 1440s and two 1220s to take gold.

“Having been able to deliver my run was a most satisfying thing since that was my goal,” said Ayumu, after nailing triple corks in all of his runs.

“I was irritated with the second run score, but that anger made me help concentrate more than usual. It motivated me in a good way.”

For the other Japanese riders, it was a story of trouble.

Totsuka, who was among the favorites for gold, had two strong, if unremarkable, runs that accumulated 62.00 and 69.75, yet in his do-or-die final trip, he fell on a backside 1080 attempt and rode out of the pipe collapsed.

Contending at an Olympics for the first time with his brother, Kaishu got off to a pleasant beginning with a 75.50 run that put him in second, yet he failed to further develop when the heat turned up.

Ruka entered the final as the third-top qualifier after scoring 87.00 in the preliminary round, yet his Friday transformed into a nightmare when he fell three times on a similar backside 1220 trick.

James was in extraordinary pre-games form, the dominant rider of recent years, yet the Australian’s best was not exactly sufficient notwithstanding Hirano’s triple competition.

The fourth was the best three-time Olympic halfpipe gold medalist Shaun White, snowboarding’s greatest name could assemble in his last Olympic rivalry.

“A lot of emotions are hitting me right now, the cheering from the crowd, some kind words from my fellow competitors at the bottom, I’m so happy,” he said with tears in his eyes.

“Snowboarding, bless your heart. It’s been, my first love.”

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