Sochi 2014 | ‘I-Pod’ wins halfpipe gold as White, Davis fall short of podium
For the first time since halfpipe snowboarding made its Olympic debut in 1998, the American men — including Shaun White and Truckee’s Danny Davis — were shut out Tuesday at the Sochi Winter Olympics.
Swiss rider Iouri Podladtchikov, aka I-Pod, won gold while the young Japanese pair of Ayumu Hirano, 15, and Taku Hiraoka, 18, took silver and bronze.
White, who crashed hard on the lip of the pipe on his first run, needed to overcome Podladtchikov’s second-run score of 94.75 to earn a third consecutive gold medal in the event.
The final competitor in the field, White, 27, failed to throw down a flawless run and received a score of 90.25, which was only good enough for fourth. Davis, 25, who won gold at the Winter X Games last month, fell in both of his runs and placed 10th.
Greg Bretz of Mammoth Lakes finished 12th and fellow American Taylor Gold of Steamboat Springs, Colo., was 14th. The United States had previously won eight of 12 medals in Olympic halfpipe competition.
“We let America down,” Davis told the New York Times. “Sorry, America. Iouri shined bright.”
Podladtchikov was expected to challenge for gold. The Russian-born rider, who was fourth at the Vancouver Games in 2010, topped the field by landing his signature trick, the double-cork 1440, which he calls the Yolo flip.
White had also learned the trick after watching Podladtchikov unveil it at the X Games Tignes in Europe last March.
Davis, on the other hand, brought a refreshing aspect to the event as he mixed old-school style with new-school tricks.
Like White, however, it just wasn’t his night.
“It’s always tough to fall on two runs,” Davis said. “To land one and get screwed by the judges or something like that — I can handle that. But I hate not landing two runs, especially in this event with such a big crowd and the amount of media here.”
Farrington wins gold
The night after the men’s final, Kaitlyn Farrington of Sun Valley, Idaho, earned the women’s halfpipe snowboarding gold medal while American teammate Kelly Clark took bronze.
Defending gold medalist Torah Bright of Australia earned the silver medal and part-time Meyers resident Hannah Teter — the 2006 gold medalist — placed fourth.
“I can’t believe it. I come out to each contest and I try to do a different run and that’s my approach to it,” said Farrington, whose winning run consisted of a pop tart, switch backside 720, backside 900, alley-oop 540, backside 540 and frontside 720.
“Sitting at the bottom, I was stoked I landed my run and once I knew I was going to be on the podium I was happy. I was hoping to make the finals, that was my main goal and then during finals I thought if I land a good run I might be on the podium. So to come out on top, I just can’t believe it.”
Team USA halfpipe snowboarding athlete Arielle Gold of Steamboat Springs, Colo., didn’t compete in the day’s event after falling in a training run and suffering a shoulder injury just prior to the start of heat two of qualifications.
Clark has now medaled in the last three out of four Olympic Winter Games and has collected more Olympic medals than any other female halfpipe snowboarder with three.