PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — Shaun White looked sensational in qualifying first in the men’s halfpipe snowboarding competition of the 2018 Winter Olympics. Now, he and a group of talented challengers will take three runs for the gold medal. Stay here for live updates and analysis from Pyeongchang:
• Expect White to throw moves like the Frontside double cork 1080, the frontside 5 stalefish, the double mctwist 1260, the and the frontside double cork 1260.
• His chief challengers are Ayumu Hirano of Japan, 19, who is noted for being the first man to land back-to-back 1440s, and Scotty James of Australia, 23, a two-time world champion who has said the judges unduly favor White.
• Each boarder gets three runs; only the best one counts.
• White is a two-time Olympicchampion, in 2006 and 2010. He was disappointed to be fourth in 2014.
In qualifying, White put up a great run, then after Hirano and James scored higher, he topped it.
“I was stoked to put that run down, that took the pressure and the edge off and then I started seeing everyone putting these great runs in and I figured I would step it up,” he said. “They motivated me to send it on that last one.”
His rivals are significantly younger.
“Honestly Ayumu, I have watched him since he was 13 years old. He was in a tough position like I was as a kid where you have a lot of pressure to be the next great thing in the sport. Yeah they were saying that to him as a 13-year-old kid.
“That’s a lot of pressure and a lot to live up to —and I am sitting there saying ‘What do you mean? I am still here’.”