Shaun White stays on top in US Open
VAIL – Shaun White did three double spins during his first run in Saturday’s Burton U.S. Open men’s halfpipe final – tricks that impress the crowd and the judges alike, but the run didn’t seem to have the amplitude that Ayumu Hirano’s first run did.
There was chatter on social media that White’s run was maybe overscored at 92.13 or that perhaps Hirano’s impressive first run was underscored at 84.85.
White squashed the chatter with his second run, though, getting massive air with each technical trick to score a 95.58, more than enough for the overall win. He did a victory run through the halfpipe for his third and final run of the day.
White’s winning run went like this: A backside air, frontside 1080 double cork stalefish grab, cab 1080 double cork melon grab, frontside 540 stalefish grab, backside 1260 double McTwist mute grab, frontside 1260 double cork stalefish grab.
White also scored the top highest trick scores across all runs, the highest of which was a 14.55 out of a possible 15 for his backside 1260 double McTwist mute grab in his first run.
Judges scored riders on each of their tricks, taking the best four trick scores from each run and combining that number with an overall flow score. Tricks are a possible 15 points each, while the flow score is out of a possible 40 points, for a total possible score of 100.
Hirano, the 14-year-old Japanese rider who won silver in this year’s Winter X Games and picked up first place in halfpipe at the Burton European Open a month ago, got second place Saturday with a score of 87.4 in his second run. Through a translator, Hirano told the media he was disappointed with his score from his first run – the run that fired up social media users who weren’t so sure he was fairly scored, either.
Hirano was happy overall with his Burton U.S. Open performance, though. His amplitude on his runs was huge – he got at least as high as White did on a few of his tricks – but overall, White’s tricks were more technical.
“He’s stoked because he was able to do what he wanted to do today,” Hirano’s translator said.
White told the media in a press conference after the final that he loves watching Hirano ride.
“What a talent,” White said. “It’s awesome to see.”
The pipe conditions were perfect Saturday under sunny, blue skies. White said the Vail halfpipe, built by Snow Park Technologies, was the best pipe he’s ridden this season.
“I can hands down honestly say this is the best pipe of the year, it was amazing,” White said. “And I don’t really give that (praise) out often.”
White announced after his win that this would be his final competition of the season. He’s turning his focus toward the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Saturday’s third-place finisher Louie Vito was in Sochi a couple of weeks ago for a test event there, which White did not attend, and said the pipe was challenging because the weather was so warm. Vito said riding Vail’s pipe this week was “like flying first-class.”
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