Summit’s Gold finishes in 5th in historic Olympic halfpipe final
White caps career with 4th-place finish, and Josey places 7th
The men’s snowboard halfpipe Olympic finals was nothing short of a cinematic Wild West shootout Thursday, Feb. 10, as the world’s best snowboarders went head to head in the 22-foot superpipe.
Among the 12-man field were three Americans in Chase Josey, Shaun White and Breckenridge resident Taylor Gold.
Josey got the competition going after snagging the last qualifying spot. He put together a solid first run with a 1080, switch 900 and a 1260. It was a complete run but garnered a score of only 62.50, putting Josey in sixth after his first of three runs.
Gold was the next American to drop into the pipe at Genting Snow Park, and he did not disappoint.
Gold executed a Mctwist on the first wall to then go into a 1260, a double rodeo 1080, a switch Mctwist and another 1080 while reaching far between his legs for the grab.
Gold skidded to a stop at the bottom of the pipe and, ecstatic about his opening run, let out a loud yell of celebration. He received a score of 81.75, which put him in first after the first round.
White was the next to go in his last Olympic Games as a professional snowboarder. White put down a frontside 1440, a 1080, his iconic double Mctwist 1260 and a frontside 1260. He scored 72 to be ranked fourth after the first round.
On the second round of runs, the competition started to heat up around the American trio.
Josey couldn’t put a clean run together as he failed to land cleanly on a 900.
Gold tried to go bigger on his second attempt with a Mctwist and a 1260 before attempting a double Michalchuk, but he failed to come down clean and drifted down the rest of the pipe without any other major tricks. Gold scored a 25, meaning his first run score remained his best.
Scotty James, Ayumu Hirano, Jan Scherrer and Shaun White all worked to displace Gold to fifth after the second round.
White had an amazing second run as he strung together a frontside 1440, a double 1080, a frontside 540, a double Mctwist 1260 and another 1260 to score 85.
White threw up a fist in celebration and made eye contact with the broadcast camera. He scored 85 to move into fourth after the second round.
The third round of runs was when Josey had his best run of the day, but it was not enough to break onto the podium. Instead, the athlete who hails from Hailey, Idaho, finished in seventh place, one spot behind where he finished in Pyeongchang in 2018, with a top run of 79.50.
Going into his last run with the podium in his sights, Gold needed at least an 87.25 to break onto the podium. Gold found success on a frontside 1260 but failed once again on a double Michalchuk and scored a 20 on his final run.
Gold maintained his position to finish in fifth, a massive improvement from the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games, where he failed to make the finals and finished in 14th. He didn’t compete in 2018.
White still sat in fourth as he started his final run. He completed a 1440 but failed to get enough rotation to complete his trick on his second hit of the superpipe.
White drifted to the base of the pipe, where he was met by his fellow competitors, many of whom he inspired or paved the way for. White broke down in tears as he was embraced, high-fived and received applause for his incredible career.
As the camera zoomed in on a teary-eyed White, he was recorded saying, “I wanted it all,” but he wasn’t able to put it together one last time. White finished in fourth place with a top run score of 85.
The gold medal came down to Australia’s James and Japan’s Hirano. James fell on his last run which left the door wide open for Hirano, who threw down the first triple cork in an Olympic Games on his second run but was not rewarded by the judges with a first-place score.
Hirano made sure there was no doubt on his last run as he threw down his third clean run of the day to score a 96 and win gold. James took home silver, while Scherrer won bronze.
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