Shaun White was the reigning champion of the men’s halfpipe event at the Winter Olympics since 2006. However, at the end of the competition in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, he had to step down from his throne when he was unable to grab the top spot on the podium.
In the 2006 Torino and 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, White’s first run became the winning run of the competition. However, in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, this was not to be. White’s first run had him falling down twice, leaving him with a score that was low for his standards. His second run had no falls, but it was riddled with close calls. He garnered a score of 90.25 for his second run, which was better than his first score. However, his final marks were not high enough to land him on the podium. For the first time in his eight years competing at the Winter Olympics, Shaun White finished the men’s halfpipe event without a medal on his neck.
White was in the run to make history if he had won the Olympic gold medal in this event. He was aiming for a third consecutive win in this event to be recognized as the first American to do so.
The top spot at the podium for the Winter Olympics men’s halfpipe event now belongs to Iouri Podladtchikov, representing Switzerland. He executed his trademark maneuver, the YOLO flip and finished with a score of 94.75. Fifteen year old Ayumu Hirano followed close on Podladtchikov’s heels with a high-flying run. The young Japanese’s performance was rewarded with a score of 93.50 and the silver medal. Hirano’s teammate, Taku Hiraoka bagged the third spot on the podium with a run that earned him a score of 92.25.
Iouri Podladtchikov’s YOLO flip involves two aerial somersaults and a rotation of 1,440 degrees. Shaun White had also mastered this maneuver, and in other events executed it even better than its creator. Shaun performed this maneuver in his Olympic run, but failed to defend his throne from Podladtchikov’s performance.
The former champion of the Winter Olympics men’s halfpipe event said that he was happy to take what happened for what it was and move on. He ended by saying it just wasn’t his night.
Image via YouTube