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.