PYEONGCHANG, South Korea – Shaun White reached deep into his bag of unparalleled tricks to win his third Olympic gold medal Wednesday, edging out the strongest halfpipe snowboarding field in Winter Games history with a near-flawless run on his final attempt.
The 31-year-old White, who finished fourth in the 2014 Olympics, put his stamp on the PyeongChang Games in a thrilling return to riding excellence following troublesome years that included graphic sexual-harassment allegations and a settlement with his accuser.
Trailing Ayumu Hirano’s score of 95.25 going into the final attempt of the competition, White delivered a run that included back-to-back 1440s to win the gold with a 97.75. Australia’s Scotty James took bronze.
After an opening run of 94.25 by White, Japan’s Hirano overtook the American on his second run with a high-flying array of tricks that included back-to-back 1440s of his own. That set up the dramatic finish with White going last in the competition, and he came through with his strongest run of the day.
White’s gold was historic as it was the 100th for Team USA at the Olympic Winter Games. He had previously won gold in the halfpipe at the 2006 Turin Games and the 2010 Vancouver Games before a letdown in 2014.