The men’s snowboard halfpipe final featured a dramatic conclusion as Team USA’s Shaun White, aiming to shake off a poor first run that saw him slam into the lip of the Rosa Khutor pipe, was last to go out on the second run – and the last with a shot to take down leader Iouri “I-Pod” Podladtchikov.
Prior to White’s fateful run, I-Pod had moved into gold medal position by earning a second-run score of 94.75 after pulling off the YOLO Flip, a cab double cork 1440.
VIDEO: Shaun White doesn’t rule out 2018 Olympics
The Swiss rider himself was the first ever to land it in international competition last March at the X Games in Tignes, France.
MORE: Twitter reacts after stunning finish to men’s halfpipe final
With the gauntlet having been thrown, White had to go big and he did so by including the YOLO Flip in his own second run. But he didn’t land it as clean as I-Pod did.
White would earn a 90.25 but it wasn’t enough to earn him a medal – and with that, I-Pod became the new Olympic snowboard halfpipe champion.
In this GE Brilliant Performances clip on NBCOlympics.com, you can watch a move-by-move breakdown of both White and I-Pod’s final runs. It’s part of a bigger “Shaun White vs. I-Pod” playlist loaded with videos from last night’s event.
Kendall Gretsch, who won Paralympic titles at the last Summer and Winter Games, added another six gold medals at the World Para Nordic Skiing Championships in Sweden last week.
Gretsch, 30, earned seven total medals in seven days between biathlon and cross-country skiing.
Gretsch won gold medals in three different sports across the last three Paralympics: biathlon and cross-country skiing in 2018 (two years after taking up the sports), triathlon in 2021 and biathlon in 2022.
She plans to shift her focus back to triathlon after this winter for 2024 Paris Games qualification.
Gretsch, born with spina bifida, was the 2014 USA Triathlon Female Para Triathlete of the Year. Though triathlon was added to the Paralympics for the 2016 Rio Games, her classification was not added until Tokyo.
Also at last week’s worlds, six-time Paralympian Aaron Pike earned his first Paralympic or world championships gold medal in his decade-plus career, winning a 12.5km biathlon event.
Oksana Masters, who won seven medals in seven events at last year’s Paralympics to break the career U.S. Winter Paralympics medals record, missed worlds due to hand surgery.
The U.S. also picked up five medals at last week’s World Para Alpine Skiing Championships in Spain — three silvers for five-time Paralympian Laurie Stephens and two bronzes for 17-year-old Saylor O’Brien.
Stephens now has 18 career medals from world championships, plus seven at the Paralympics.
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Kyle Smaine, a retired world champion halfpipe skier, died in an avalanche in Japan on Sunday, according to NBC News, citing Smaine’s father. He was 31.
Smaine, a 2015 World champion in ski halfpipe, had been doing ski filming in Japan, sharing videos on his Instagram account over the past week.
The native of South Lake Tahoe, California, finished ninth in ski halfpipe at the 2016 Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado.
In 2018, Smaine won the fifth and final U.S. Olympic qualifying series event in ski halfpipe but did not make the four-man team for PyeongChang. His last sanctioned international competition was in February 2018.
Late Sunday, two-time Olympic champion David Wise won the X Games men’s ski halfpipe and dedicated it to Smaine.
“We all did this for Kyle tonight,” Wise said on the broadcast. “It’s a little bit of an emotional day for us. We lost a friend.”