Get to know Ayumu Hirano and Scotty James, Shaun White's biggest competitors

Get to know Ayumu Hirano and Scotty James, Shaun White's biggest competitors

There were no ideal scores and no arguments about judging as the world's greatest snowboarder and his young contemporary left Scotty James with a halfpipe bronze medal at the Winter Olympics.

What was supposed to be a more subdued qualifier for the men's snowboard halfpipe turned into a game of one-upmanship Tuesday at the PyeongChang Olympics.

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.

"I came out and did it the Australian way and gave it a real hard crack", the 23-year-old told Channel Seven after the podium ceremony.

Shaun White has won halfpipe qualifying at the Pyeongchang Olympic Games and will drop in last for what's shaping up as an epic final.

James got his medal with his first run of 92 points but ultimately couldn't match the silky skills of American Shaun White who snatched the gold with his last run of 97.75.

"I came out and did it the Australian way".

"I was expecting a good battle and a battle it was". I wish I landed my second run, but it is what it is.

"You only get one time every four years to do so in front of your country and that's what I did so I am absolutely grateful for that".

"I think I displayed that as well is I could".

"I'm listening to some AC/DC, I always listen to "Back In Black", and I'm dropping in, talking to myself saying, 'Okay relax Scotty", he said. "It's been an incredible ride".

The 99th gold was earned by 17-year-old Chloe Kim, who captured the women's halfpipe title easily on Monday night.

James is a two-time halfpipe victor at the World Championships, and he earned the No. 1 ranking in the FIS World Cup standings last season.

White's qualifying runs not only showed the other competitors he hasn't lost much despite his age, but it also set him up for his preferred starting position in the final.

The two-time Olympic champion is one of a few American medal hopefuls along with Ben Ferguson, who rocketed up the leaderboard to fourth with a first-run score of 91.00.

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