Shaun White has been dethroned as Olympic snowboard halfpipe champion after finishing fourth and off the podium in today’s final at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.
The shocking result closes one of the toughest chapters in the career of the action sports icon.
He was to compete in the inaugural Olympic snowboard slopestyle competition but jammed his wrist in a training accident last Tuesday and then pulled out of the slopestyle event one day later to focus on attaining a third consecutive gold in the halfpipe.
Such a result would have made White the first American man to claim three Winter Olympic golds in an individual event. Instead, he’ll leave Sochi with nothing.
White advanced directly into the final after throwing down a qualifying run that netted him a score of 95.75, the best in that round.
But in the main event, White’s opening run was marred by two incidents that included a hard slam upon the ledge.
The man formerly known as the “Flying Tomato” was able to keep going through both of those, but earned just a 35.00 to put him in 11th out of 12 riders going into the last and deciding run.
As he waited for his chance to redeem himself, Switzerland’s Iouri Podladtchikov shot to the top of the standings with a 94.75 on his second run, which included his now-famous YOLO Flip, a cab double cork 1440. 15-year-old Ayumu Hirano of Japan came the closest to I-Pod with a great second run of his own that netted him a 93.50.
White was the last to go on a second run and did much better despite narrowly tagging the ledge again along the way.
But there was no question that Podladtchikov was going to hang on to the gold. The true question was whether White would be able to just add a third overall Olympic medal.
The answer was negative, as his second run got him a 90.25 – not enough to take the bronze from another Japanese rider, Taku Hiroaka.
MEN’S SNOWBOARDING – HALFPIPE FINAL (BEST OF TWO RUNS)
1. Iouri Podladtchikov (SUI), 94.75
2. Ayumu Hirano (JPN), 93.50
3. Taku Hiroaka (JPN), 92.25
4. Shaun White (USA), 90.25
5. David Hableutzel (SUI), 88.50
6. Yiwei Zhang (CHN), 87.25
7. Wangcheng Shi (CHN), 81.00
8. Tim-Kevin Ravnjak (SLO), 72.25
9. Kent Callister (AUS), 68.50
10. Danny Davis (USA), 53.00
11. Christian Haller (SUI), 51.50
12. Greg Bretz (USA), 26.50
14. Taylor Gold (USA), Eliminated in Semifinal