American superstar rider Shaun White was the favorite to clinch another gold medal in the men’s snowboard halfpipe event, but he couldn’t meet expectations.
After cruising his way through the qualification round with a 95.75 score, White failed to perform right when it mattered the most. A sloppy first round that gave him a 35.00 score put a lot of pressure on his shoulders and despite his 90.25 score in the second heat, it wasn’t enough to give him a medal.
Switzerland’s representative Iouri Podladtchikov surprisingly got the highest score with a 94.75 score in the first round, and a Japanese tandem got the two other medals. Ayumu Hirano finished second with a 93.50 score, and third place went to Taku Hiraoka, who notched a 92.25 round that placed White fourth in the overall standings.
While this is a heavy knock on White as he failed to three-peat in the event, it’s a bigger knock for Team USA’s aspirations to climb in the medal standings. Prior to the event, White was highly regarded as one of the top athletes in the competition and he was considered a lock to obtain a medal in both the slopestyle and the halfpipe. After withdrawing from the slopestyle due to safety concerns and finishing fourth today, White couldn’t give the Team USA a single medal.
White’s performance surely won’t affect his superstar status, but that doesn’t change the fact that more was expected from him. He’s the best rider on the planet, but failed to confirm it on the biggest stage.