Sport Shaun White soars in thrilling halfpipe competition, and it was only qualifying

17:16  13 february  2018
17:16  13 february  2018 Source:   USA TODAY

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  Shaun White: Sex assault allegations are gossip Shaun White has dismissed the sexual assault allegations made against him in a 2016 lawsuit as "gossip."White won his third Olympic gold medal Wednesday in the men's halfpipe, then was criticized on social media and questioned in a press conference about allegations made in a lawsuit by a former drummer in White's rock band.

Shaun White of USA in action during men’s final of snowboard halfpipe of Toyota U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain on Dec. California sensation Chloe Kim led an American sweep of the pipe , owning the women’s competition with soaring airs and flawless style.

He was fourth in the men's halfpipe competition . Nathan Bilow-USA TODAY Sports. ORG XMIT: 137864317 ASPEN, CO - JANUARY 29: Shaun White soars above the spectators as he competes in men's snowboard superpipe elimination during Winter X Games 2012 at Buttermilk Mountain on

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PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — All that mattered was advancing to the Olympic halfpipe final. But with the top riders in the world all in one place, the one-upmanship couldn’t be avoided.

Shaun White just fine with upping ante on Olympic halfpipe

  Shaun White just fine with upping ante on Olympic halfpipe Shaun White sat on the couch at home and watched history's best halfpipe contest unfold. He's planning on making the next contest — the one where they hand out the Olympic gold medal — an even better show.White said Thursday that he is working on the tricks that Japan's Ayumu Hirano used to win the Winter X Games last month. Hirano became the first person to string together back-to-back 1440-degree jumps in what was widely regarded as the best show ever seen in a halfpipe."I'm excited to compete with him," White said. "He's really pushing it, and he did an amazing combination that I'm working on myself.

He was fourth in the men's halfpipe competition . Nathan Bilow-USA TODAY Sports. Fullscreen. Shaun White soars above the spectators toward his first place finish in the men's snowboard superpipe elimination during Winter X Games 2012 at Buttermilk Mountain on Jan.

He was fourth in the men's halfpipe competition . Nathan Bilow-USA TODAY Sports. Fullscreen. ORG XMIT: 137864317 ASPEN, CO - JANUARY 29: Shaun White soars above the spectators as he competes in men's snowboard superpipe elimination during Winter X Games 2012 at Buttermilk

Highlight: White tops halfpipe qualifying

In a thrilling qualifier at Phoenix Snow Park on Tuesday, it was Shaun White who came out on top and a field of talented snowboarders who set the stage for a showdown in the final on Wednesday.

White finished as the top qualifier, scoring a 98.50 on his second run, and moved a step closer to getting back on an Olympic podium. After a disappointing fourth-place finish in Sochi, the two-time Olympic gold medalist is looking for gold again in his fourth Olympics.

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“I knew I had it in me. And I watched these young guys put in these amazing runs and it fired me up and I just wanted to show, this is what I’ve been doing my entire life and I’m here to put it down,” White said. “I feel night and day physically and mentally from Sochi, and I think that was a little bit of that shining through today.”

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He was fourth in the men's halfpipe competition . Nathan Bilow-USA TODAY Sports. ORG XMIT: 137864317 ASPEN, CO - JANUARY 29: Shaun White soars above the spectators as he competes in men's snowboard superpipe elimination during Winter X Games 2012 at Buttermilk Mountain on

Still, it was not enough to pass Ferguson. The judges gave White an 89.25. The U.S. Grand Prix at Copper is the first Olympic qualifier in snowboard halfpipe , and riders only need one top-three result to qualify for the U.S. Olympic team — but only three (of four) athletes can qualify that way.

Almost all the top riders got through to the 12-man final, with Sochi bronze medalist Taku Hiraoka of Japan missing the cut in 13th.

Atop the leaderboard were the guys expected to contend for gold — White, Australia’s Scotty James, Japan’s Ayumu Hirano and the USA’s Ben Ferguson.

All scored above an 87 on their first runs, and by the end of the competition, those four and Japan’s Raibu Katayama were in the 90s.

Riding one after the other, James and White each landed back-to-back double cork 1260s — a trick with two off-axis flips and three-and-a-half spins. James scored 96.75 to briefly take the lead before White claimed the top spot.

It bettered White’s first run score of 93.25, which was the fourth-highest of the day

“People forget you still gotta qualify to get to finals. I was stoked to put that run down,” White said. “That took the pressure and the edge off, and then I started seeing everybody putting these great runs and I figured I would kind of just step it up. They motivated me to send it on that last one.”

Opinion: Shaun White had to go where he had never been to be Olympic champ again

  Opinion: Shaun White had to go where he had never been to be Olympic champ again Needing to land a combination of tricks he’d never completed before, White soared above the halfpipe and put down the run of his life. In the end, he was Olympic champion again.“We were on such a great path, and it was that true question of do I really want this?” White said. “And stepping out on the snow again means that I’m willing to let this happen to myself again. That’s a big decision, and plenty of my friends were like, you’ve got medals. You’re blessed to be well off from this sport, you could easily just go sail into the sunset and write your novel.

He was fourth in the men's halfpipe competition . Nathan Bilow-USA TODAY Sports. Fullscreen. ORG XMIT: 137864317 ASPEN, CO - JANUARY 29: Shaun White soars above the spectators as Had White competed in the event and advanced out of the qualifying round, he would have had to

Story Highlights Shaun White won the halfpipe qualifier with a score of 98.6. White nailed a frontside double-cork 1440 in competition for the first time during his second run Davis even beat White in a qualifying event barely a month before the games only to have his

While the riders tried to best each other, it was clear they have plenty left to show in the final.

Hirano, the Sochi silver medalist, landed back-to-back double cork 1440s to win the X Games last month. White has landed each of those tricks and said he’s been working on doing them consecutively in a run.

“We have a very similar level and I know what he does and he knows what I do,” Hirano said.

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James, meanwhile, will attempt his switch backside double cork 1260, one of the most technical tricks in the halfpipe.

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Two-time Olympic gold medalist Shaun White is not the only one complaining about the condition of Shaun White — who last week withdrew from the slopestyle competition over course safety But I’m hoping for the best.” American snowboarder Shaun White cruises through halfpipe qualifying : http

Shaun White speaks at a news conference following the men's halfpipe finals of the 2014 Sochi Olympic He was fourth in the men's halfpipe competition . Nathan Bilow-USA TODAY Sports. ORG XMIT: 137864317 ASPEN, CO - JANUARY 29: Shaun White soars above the spectators as he

American Chase Josey — one of four U.S. riders in the final with White, Ferguson and Jake Pates — said he could attempt six double corks in his run. That would be a first for any rider, and Josey landed five double corks in a run last year.

“It was a pretty strong level of riding today. Dudes were throwing down and doing some good stuff for sure,” Ferguson.

"I think (Wednesday) the level will be elevated a little bit for sure. You'll see gnarlier tricks coming out probably even people going higher."

With the stage to unleash their biggest tricks, that means more one-upmanship for riders who gave a good feel for what the Olympic final will look like. For White, though, it wasn’t just pure ego. As the top qualifier, he’ll be the last to ride in each of the three final runs.

“I get my favorite slot, dropping last, and that was big for me,” he said. “That’s really a good-luck spot and I really wanted it, so I’m happy to have it.”

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