Australian snowboard star Scotty James has won silver in the Olympic halfpipe.
Japan’s Ayumu Hirano scored 96.00 with the last run of the final to snatch the gold medal from James. James held the lead after his outstanding second run, ahead of Hirano, before the tables were turned.
The gold medal came down to the third runs for James and Hirano, who held the top two spots. James qualified second behind Hirano, meaning the Australian went second-last. He failed to nail his third run, meaning it came down to Hirano, the silver medallist at the last two Olympics. Swiss Jan Scherrer won bronze after scoring 87.25 in his second run.
American legend Shaun White, the three-time Olympic champion, fell on his last run before retirement. His 85.00 second run meant White finished fourth.
Australia now has three medals at the Beijing Games, equalling its best haul at a Winter Olympics. Jakara Anthony won gold in the moguls and Tess Coady took bronze in slopestyle. Australia has won 17 Winter Olympics medals in total – six gold, five silver and six bronze.
James, who won bronze at the 2018 Olympics, posted 92.50 with his second run to take the lead, with Hirano second on 91.75. Fellow Australian Valentino Guseli posted 75.75 with his first run to take second spot and improved to 79.75. He also posted 79.75 in his third run to finish sixth.
James didn’t get off to the start he was after, falling on his second trick during his opening run – a switch back cav – and failed to post a decent score. The pressure came off a little when Ayumu Hirano landed a game-changing frontside triple cork – the first in Olympic history. But the high risk-high reward move didn’t pay off as he was then unable to complete his run and also landed way down the leaderboard.
The two men then cranked it up in the second run with four-time Olympian James delivering the run he was after, stomping two double cork 1440s as well as some stylish tail grabs to take the lead. Hirano, who has won silver medals at the past two Olympics, went all out and landed the triple cork but it wasn’t enough to top James’ technically superior effort and he sat second.
Guseli, making his Olympic debut, looked right at home with his first run, sitting in second spot behind American Taylor Gold (81.75) after posting a score of 75.75. Aged just 16, Guseli then added another two points on his second outing in another solid outing to be among the pace-setters.