Ho-ly shit. Say what you will about halfpipe, the Olympics, and triple corks, but that was pretty special. Ayumu Hirano put an end to his Olympic gold medal drought while landing the first ever triple cork 1440 in snowboard halfpipe Olympic history, a visibly emotional Shaun White put on a masterclass at the age of 35 in his final competitive contest but was just pipped to the medal position by Switzerland’s Jan Scherrer, and Kaishu Hiranu graced our television screens with one of the best methods of all time. Here’s how it all went down:
Japan’s Kaishu Hiranu (Ayumu’s little bro) set the tone for the contest when he came full gas into the pipe and launched one of the biggest and best freeze-frame methods we’ve ever seen. Seriously, Hiranu almost landed in a different time zone by the time he came back into the transition.
When Shaun White’s turn came to drop, he delivered a previously never before seen run – more reminiscent on the Shaun from previous Olympics than his current season on the world cup circuit, throwing down a textbook backside Tomahawk 1260, which he first landed in the 2014 Games.
BBC commentator Ed Leigh summed it up perfectly: “It’s a bit like petting a labrador. He seemed so harmless – you almost felt sorry for him. And here he turns up and pulls out close to one of his best runs”.
When the heavy hitters lined up to drop in, Ruka Hirano, Scotty James and Ayumu Hirano all failed to put their runs down, and the leaderboard looked wide open.