Hirano, James just short in epic men's halfpipe final - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Hirano, James just short in epic men's halfpipe final

ADVERTISEMENT
Bookmark and Share
(AP Photo/Lee Jin-man). Ayumu Hirano, of Japan, looks at his score during the men's halfpipe finals at Phoenix Snow Park at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man). Ayumu Hirano, of Japan, looks at his score during the men's halfpipe finals at Phoenix Snow Park at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018.
(AP Photo/Lee Jin-man). Ayumu Hirano, of Japan, jumps during the men's halfpipe finals at Phoenix Snow Park at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man). Ayumu Hirano, of Japan, jumps during the men's halfpipe finals at Phoenix Snow Park at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018.
(AP Photo/Gregory Bull). Silver medal winner Ayumu Hirano, of Japan, celebrates after the men's halfpipe finals at Phoenix Snow Park at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull). Silver medal winner Ayumu Hirano, of Japan, celebrates after the men's halfpipe finals at Phoenix Snow Park at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018.
(AP Photo/Lee Jin-man). Scotty James, of Australia, crashes during the men's halfpipe finals at Phoenix Snow Park at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man). Scotty James, of Australia, crashes during the men's halfpipe finals at Phoenix Snow Park at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018.
(AP Photo/Lee Jin-man). Scotty James, of Australia, gribs his board with is gloves during the men's halfpipe finals at Phoenix Snow Park at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man). Scotty James, of Australia, gribs his board with is gloves during the men's halfpipe finals at Phoenix Snow Park at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018.

By WILL GRAVES
AP Sports Writer

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) - Ayumu Hirano already has an Olympic silver medal back home in Japan. The budding snowboarding superstar didn't plan on leaving Phoenix Snow Park with another one.

Yet it happened anyway because Shaun White happened, as he tends to do with the world watching.

White's scintillating final run in the men's halfpipe final vaulted him past Hirano atop the podium for his third Olympic gold, relegating Hirano to silver for the second time in four years. No offense, but Hirano wonders if maybe the positions should have been reversed.

Asked if he felt he deserved gold instead of White, whose score of 97.75 was just clear of Hirano's 95.25, the soft-spoken 19-year-old's answer was polite but firm.

"Yes I do but the result is the result," Hirano said. "And whatever I do, whatever I say, the result cannot be changed."

Hirano was a close second to Switzerland's Iouri Podladtchikov in Sochi. In the interim he has become every bit White's equal. He stormed to the top spot at the X Games last month, an event White opted to skip while dealing with a cold and with his Olympic spot already locked up.

A "winner take all" between White, Hirano and Australian Scotty James loomed in the South Korean mountains. They wanted to put on a show. In a way, they did even more than that. The three were at the forefront of electrifying qualifying on Tuesday, stringing together edgy runs that in some ways would have been home in the finals in lower-stakes events.

The Olympics, however, are something different. The proof came in the finals. Hirano has become the standard bearer in many respects, his back-to-back 1440s (two flips and two twists, or four 360-degree rotations) is the trick by which all others are measured. Until Wednesday, he was the only snowboarder in the world to have done it in competition.

Then White matched him on his final run, throwing consecutive 1440s at the top and doing just a bit more at the bottom to slip by, including his signature trick a Double McTwist 1260.

"There are no big differences between us, what we did," Hirano said.

Not at all. And that's kind of the problem. In a judged sport, everything is subjective. White worried he was being compared to his past greatness, not against the rest of the 12-man final. Hirano on Wednesday found a snowboarder he considers an idol come up behind him, replicate the trick he perfected and get the nod for gold instead.

"Under this condition, on this pipe it's very, very difficult to mark higher than (White) did," Hirano said. "But perhaps I have some room to improve on the height and the perfectness, perfect landing."

James, who began his stay in South Korea by openly questioning the way judges put together their scores, pulled back a bit once competition began. He praised the scoring during qualifying and didn't exactly hang his head after earning bronze in arguably the best finals since the discipline made its Olympics debut a generation ago.

"I expected a battle and that's exactly what it was," James said. "I came out swinging and punching as much as I could and gave it my best shot and happy with the third place."

James, who wears boxing gloves when he rides as a symbol of his competitiveness, understood his loss - if winding up with a medal in a group that includes generational talents in White and Hirano a "loss" -was a technical knockout, not a personal one.

The 23-year-old threw down a 92 during the first of his three finals runs, only to see Ayumu and then White top it. It wasn't quite the ending he hoped, but he understands the true victor may have been their sport.

The Olympics provide a massive platform for snowboarding, one that events like the X Games can't touch. If some of the millions who tuned in Wednesday find themselves won over by the physics and gravity pushing display they saw, that's hardly a bad thing.

"They're all really tough, difficult tricks and we're all able to come out and put on a good show and do what we wanted to do here today," James said. "So that's good."

Even if it's not golden.

___

More AP Olympic coverage: https://wintergames.ap.org

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Entertainment newsMore>>

  • Trump says he goes to great lengths to hide his bald spot

    Trump says he goes to great lengths to hide his bald spot

    Friday, February 23 2018 11:46 AM EST2018-02-23 16:46:30 GMT
    Friday, February 23 2018 7:25 PM EST2018-02-24 00:25:35 GMT
    (AP Photo/Evan Vucci). President Donald Trump gestures as he makes a joke about his hair during remarks to the Conservative Political Action Conference, Friday, Feb. 23, 2018, in Oxon Hill, Md.(AP Photo/Evan Vucci). President Donald Trump gestures as he makes a joke about his hair during remarks to the Conservative Political Action Conference, Friday, Feb. 23, 2018, in Oxon Hill, Md.
    Now it can be told: President Donald Trump goes to great lengths to hide the bald spot revealed in a recent photo.More >>
    Now it can be told: President Donald Trump goes to great lengths to hide the bald spot revealed in a recent photo.More >>
  • The language of 'Black Panther'? It's real. Give it a try.

    The language of 'Black Panther'? It's real. Give it a try.

    Friday, February 23 2018 9:35 AM EST2018-02-23 14:35:17 GMT
    Friday, February 23 2018 6:06 PM EST2018-02-23 23:06:25 GMT
    (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File). FILE - In this Jan. 29, 2018 file photo, Chadwick Boseman, a cast member in "Black Panther," poses at the premiere of the film at The Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. The language of Wakanda in “Black Panther” ...(Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File). FILE - In this Jan. 29, 2018 file photo, Chadwick Boseman, a cast member in "Black Panther," poses at the premiere of the film at The Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. The language of Wakanda in “Black Panther” ...
    The language of 'Black Panther'? It's real. Give it a try; 'The clicks are no joke'.More >>
    The language of 'Black Panther'? It's real. Give it a try; 'The clicks are no joke'.More >>
  • HBO biopic about Penn State's Joe Paterno premieres April 7

    HBO biopic about Penn State's Joe Paterno premieres April 7

    Friday, February 23 2018 3:44 PM EST2018-02-23 20:44:56 GMT
    Friday, February 23 2018 6:06 PM EST2018-02-23 23:06:21 GMT
    (Atsushi Nishijima/HBO via AP). In this image released by HBO, Kathy Baker, left, and Al Pacino portray Sue and Joe Paterno in a scene from "Paterno," a film about the late Penn State football coach. HBO says the film will focus on Paterno dealing with...(Atsushi Nishijima/HBO via AP). In this image released by HBO, Kathy Baker, left, and Al Pacino portray Sue and Joe Paterno in a scene from "Paterno," a film about the late Penn State football coach. HBO says the film will focus on Paterno dealing with...
    An HBO biopic starring Al Pacino as late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno will premiere April 7. HBO tweeted the premiere date Friday, along with a trailer to the film directed by Barry Levinson.More >>
    An HBO biopic starring Al Pacino as late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno will premiere April 7. HBO tweeted the premiere date Friday, along with a trailer to the film directed by Barry Levinson.More >>
  • 2018 Winter Olympics2018 Winter OlympicsMore>>

  • NBC gets 17.3 million for figure skating's big night

    NBC gets 17.3 million for figure skating's big night

    Friday, February 23 2018 6:18 PM EST2018-02-23 23:18:00 GMT
    Friday, February 23 2018 7:37 PM EST2018-02-24 00:37:29 GMT
    An estimated 17.3 million watch Thursday's Olympics, where the big event was the duel between two teen-aged Russians for the women's figure skating gold.More >>
    An estimated 17.3 million watch Thursday's Olympics, where the big event was the duel between two teen-aged Russians for the women's figure skating gold.More >>
  • Shiffrin jokes about whether Vonn's Olympic career is over

    Shiffrin jokes about whether Vonn's Olympic career is over

    Friday, February 23 2018 3:06 PM EST2018-02-23 20:06:03 GMT
    Friday, February 23 2018 7:37 PM EST2018-02-24 00:37:17 GMT
    (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel). Alpine skier Mikaela Shiffrin, of the United States, talks to the media during a news conference at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Friday, Feb. 23, 2018.(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel). Alpine skier Mikaela Shiffrin, of the United States, talks to the media during a news conference at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Friday, Feb. 23, 2018.
    When Vonn says these are her last Olympics, Shriffin has a good laugh.More >>
    When Vonn says these are her last Olympics, Shriffin has a good laugh.More >>
  • Less is more: Why the Olympics broadcast beats online

    Less is more: Why the Olympics broadcast beats online

    Wednesday, February 21 2018 2:55 PM EST2018-02-21 19:55:09 GMT
    Friday, February 23 2018 7:18 PM EST2018-02-24 00:18:16 GMT
    Less is more: Why the Olympics broadcast beats online.More >>
    Less is more: Why the Olympics broadcast beats online.More >>
Powered by Frankly