Today at 5 a.m. ET on NBCOlympics.com, Shaun White begins his quest to become the first American man to win three Winter Olympic gold medals in the same individual event with qualifying in snowboard halfpipe.
White, who pulled out of the inaugural Olympic slopestyle competition to focus on halfpipe, will look to turn back the world’s best – including Swiss rider Iouri Podladtchikov (a.k.a. “I-Pod”), the 2013 halfpipe world champion, and Japan’s 15-year-old dynamo, Ayumu Hirano.
White’s American teammates – Greg Bretz (who defeated White in the first of five Olympic qualifiers this winter), Taylor Gold and Danny Davis – are also potential medal threats.