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Snowboarding: Big boys through top-quality halfpipe qualifying

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (Reuters) – Pre-Olympics favorites together with two-time gold medalist Shaun White certified for the lads’s snowboard halfpipe ultimate in a high-scoring, high-flying contest on Tuesday.

American White, Australian Scotty James and Sochi silver medalist Ayumu Hirano of Japan set the tempo, all scoring over 95 factors and pushing the boundaries of what’s attainable in snowboarding’s greatest occasion on the Olympics.

White topped qualifying together with his rating of 98.50. James was second on 96.75 and Hirano third on 95.25.

All 4 American riders certified, whereas solely Taku Hiraoka missed out for the Japanese, who can have three representatives within the ultimate.

With 5 riders scoring over 90 factors, one may very well be forgiven for considering the riders had been acting at their most, but the highest three all instructed reporters after the occasion that there was extra to return.

“Today I did not execute fully because it is qualification. My focus has always been on the final,” stated Hirano.

Both White and Hirano laid down back-to-back double cork 1440s, while James, who was Australia’s flag bearer at Pyeongchang’s opening ceremony, has been specializing in his swap bottom double cork 1260.

Snowboarding – Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics – Men’s Halfpipe Qualification – Phoenix Snow Park – Pyeongchang, South Korea – February 13, 2018 – Scotty James of Australia competes. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Earlier within the week, the Australian questioned current judging, significantly in regard to perceptions of the 2 methods and of White’s current excellent 100.00 rating achieved on the Snowmass Grand Prix.

James’ swap bottom might comprise much less rotations than the 1440s favored by his rivals however the Australian’s trick is arguably extra technical and he’s the one man in historical past to throw one down in competitors.

“What I was saying earlier in the week was trying to differentiate between the 1440s and my switch backside and what I thought of that,” James instructed reporters after qualifying.

“I have talked to the judges and I am trying to be more proactive as opposed to negative.”

When requested if an ideal rating was wanted to say gold on Wednesday, James replied with a rueful smile.

“I am not big on the perfect scores but if they give one out to me I will take one on the chin.”

For White, who’s chasing a document third Olympic snowboarding gold medal, qualifying was all about ending first in order that he will get the possibility to ship down the final run within the ultimate.

“I get my favourite spot, dropping in last. It is a really good luck spot so I am really lucky to have it.”

The ultimate begins at 1000 native time (0100 GMT) on Wednesday.

Reporting by Jack Tarrant; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty

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