Winter Olympics 2014: Shaun White's half-pipe reign ended by I-Pod and a schoolboy
Tuesday 11 February 2014
Shaun White's miserable Olympics ended without a medal as the American finished fourth in the half-pipe, upstaged by a Russian competing for Switzerland and a 15-year-old Japanese schoolboy.
White was seeking a third successive gold medal and pulled out of the slopestyle last week to ensure he was in peak condition to defend his title. It led to him being accused of running scared by the Canadians and his build-up was dogged by concerns over the course; White was one of its more vocal critics.
Having cruised through qualifying at the head of the field, White was the last to go. The penultimate athlete, Ayumu Hirano, who is missing school to compete here, produced a sparkling run of 90.75 to take the lead. It was a mark White could not match, misjudging two tricks and landing on his backside on the lip of the course. He scored 35.
The standard improved in the second run with Iouri Podladtchikov, nicknamed I-Pod, landing the Yolo flip and earning a score of 94.75. Podladtchikov competed for Russia in 2006 but, having grown up in Switzerland, switched allegiance a year later. It is only in recent years that he has risen to challenge White. The Yolo – it stands for You Only Live Once – is his invention.
By the time the 27-year-old White, the oldest man in the field, lined up his second run Hirano had improved to 93.5 and his compatriot Taku Hiraoko had registered 92.25. White's final run was more like the man who has dominated the sport for more than a decade but at 90.25 it was not enough to trouble the leaders and an era was over.
Iouri Podladtchikov won the half-pipe with a score of 94.75 (Getty)
Arsenal vs Aston Villa preview: I need to prove myself again at Villa, says Scott Sinclair
Transfer news and rumours LIVE: Juan Cuadrado to Chelsea, Cristiano Ronaldo to Manchester City, United want Gareth Bale
Chelsea vs Manchester City player ratings: David Silva saves the day but which City star stole the show at Stamford Bridge?
Arsene Wenger photobombs Arsenal photo shoot - manages to look like famous 'Bigfoot' picture
Kim Sears 'swearing' outburst threatens to overshadow Andy Murray's Australian Open semi-final win
- 1 Three-year-old boy shoots pregnant mother and father in New Mexico
- 2 Stephen Fry explains what he would say if he was 'confronted by God'
- 4 Gorillaz Phase 4: Cartoon supergroup is back as new artwork is unveiled
Stephen Fry explains what he would say if he was 'confronted by God'
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
President Putin is a dangerous psychopath - reason is not going to work with him
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia