Published: Thu, February 15, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Winter Olympics 2018: Moment of truth awaits Aussie snowboarder Scotty James

Winter Olympics 2018: Moment of truth awaits Aussie snowboarder Scotty James

American snowboarding legend Shaun White has claimed an astonishing record third Olympic gold medal as a late crash consigned Australian Scotty James to bronze in a thrilling men's halfpipe final.

"I gave it a hard crack", an upbeat James said after the final.

Hirano took silver in Sochi, and is a two-time X Games gold medalist.

White is the betting favorite to prevail, but 19-year-old Japanese star Ayumu Hirano and Australia's Scotty James both have the talent to take gold in South Korea.

Second last down the 'pipe, James had his chance to move further up the podium but dragged his arm in his second run and fell on his final effort.

"I've had some really awesome medals and experience in the past, but I think this is the one that really hits home for me, because not only am I out there competing for myself, which is what this discipline is, but I've got that extra camaraderie".

As he proved during the second run on Monday, the 23-year-old is not afraid of eclipsing White and forcing the American to deliver his best run at any time. I'm grateful to be standing here, and to get on the podium.

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Japan's Yuto Totsuka had to be carried off on a stretcher after this brutal fall. "It's been an incredible ride".

"I'm very proud of my country and where I come from but I can assure you that I'm just getting started".

Much of the competition pre-amble centred on judging controversies, with James outspoken in his belief White shouldn't have received a flawless score of 100 in a World Cup competition last month. White has said he's working on the same tricks, while James has the most technically on-point package in the game.

White effectively captured his country's 100th Winter Olympics gold when he nailed back-to-back 1440s (four full spins in consecutive tricks), cementing his status as the sport's most gifted practitioner.

The men's snowboarding halfpipe final is the Olympic equivalent of the Slam Dunk Contest.

The bronze is Australia's 14th Winter Olympics medal and fifth bronze.

"I'm very similar, so I appreciate him coming up to me at the end saying "congratulations", White said.

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