Drama as snowboarder White claims landmark gold

Shaun White speaks at a news conference

The 31-year-old White is now on top of the all-time Olympic gold medal tally for snowboarding, which was introduced to the Winter Games in 1998, with wins at the 2006 Turin Games and the 2010 Vancouver Games in addition to his gold in Pyeongchang.

White produced a near-perfect run to earn a score of 97.75 from the judges - narrowly beating Japanese teenager Ayumu Hirano to gold, with Australian boarder Scotty James claiming bronze.

Japan's 19-year-old Ayumu Hirano, who won silver in Sochi as a 15-year-old, posted a second-run 95.25.

"Most of the field saves a bunch of tricks for finals and just tries to put one down in qualifiers but today a bunch of people threw down really good runs on their first run. some insane tricks and got high scores".

There could be no argument about White's dominance over his contemporaries on the slopes above Gangneung on Wednesday as he became the first snowboarder to land three Olympics titles.

White famously missed the podium at the Sochi Games in 2014 after a poor performance in his final run.

Meanwhile, Australia's Scotty James is a medal contender, as well as American riders Ben Ferguson and Chase Josey.

Earlier in the day, cemented his legacy as America's greatest snowboarder Wednesday by winning his third gold medal for the halfpipe in dramatic fashion.

This year represents a shot at redemption for White, one of the United States' most famous Winter Olympians.

It snapped his streak of consecutive gold medals in the men's halfpipe. Finding the sweet spot between safety run and all-out-send is different for every individual, of course, but with only two drops to make it count, pressure is still thick in the air during quals. "My focus has always been on the final", said Hirano.

"I've been through so much to get here", White said.

White, James and Hirano will square off in the men's snowboarding halfpipe finals on Wednesday, when medals will be awarded.

We've watched the young athlete grow, along with his long hair, over the last 18 years, but just how young is he?

"Considering the circumstances, the pressure he was under, I think Shaun today was the best I have ever seen him".

"Absolutely. I expected to Shaun to come out and put a run down like that".

"Honestly, it's one of the most challenging runs I've ever done", he said. "I definitely think going big and going clean and just putting it down solid is what these guys want to see and I'm planning to do that tomorrow". "Three gold medals. I was just hoping they'd give it to me". White says he's been working on the same combo and plans to do it here. But White told media last week that he had been working on those tricks and planned to try that combination in PyeongChang.

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