PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AFP) – Shaun White pulled off a spectacular final run of the day to win the Pyeongchang snowboard halfpipe title on Wednesday, claiming his third Olympic gold and the 100th Winter Games title for the United States. The 31-year-old scored a brilliant 97.75 points to snatch the title from Japan’s Ayumu Hirano, who was leading on 95.25, with Australia’s Scotty James third on 92.00.
It was particularly satisfying for White, known as “Flying Tomato” because of his red hair, who won gold in 2006 and 2010 and helped put the hipster sport on the map, but flopped in Sochi four years ago.
Hirano had to settle for a second silver in a row and James, a two-time world champion saw his victory hopes dashed as he fell on his final effort.
Team USA are threatening to clean up in snowboarding in South Korea, winning all four competitions so far.
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.
White, a comparative veteran and snowboarding’s biggest star, was in ominous form in qualifying on Tuesday as he topped the standings.
He has been determined to show snowboarding’s next generation that he is no spent force after scoring a controversial perfect 100 in Colorado last month that sparked accusations of favoritism.
Meantime, the start of Mikaela Shiffrin’s bid for multiple medals at the 2018 Olympics was delayed yet again when the women’s slalom was postponed from Wednesday to Friday because of strong winds.
It’s the third time in four days an Alpine skiing race was shelved because gusts made it too dangerous for competition. Shiffrin originally was supposed to get started with the giant slalom on Monday; that race was rescheduled for Thursday and will now be her first at these Winter Games.
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