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Shaun White Makes History With Gold Medal Win In Halfpipe

American snowboarder Shaun White has won Winter Olympics gold for a historic third time in the snowboarding halfpipe, blitzing the field in Pyeongchang with a phenomenal 97.75 score in his final run to become the first person to win a trio of Olympic gold medals in the sport.

White led the field after the first round, as judges gave his initial effort a 94.25 score, but Japanese snowboarder Ayumu Hirano edged to the front with a 95.25 in the second round.

In the last round, with the last run of the final, White managed to pull out a near-perfect run to steal gold.

Hirano scored the silver medal, while Australian snowboarder Scotty James won bronze.

The 31-year-old White is now on top of the all-time Olympic gold medal tally for snowboarding, which was introduced to the Winter Games in 1998, with wins at the 2006 Torino Games and 2010 Vancouver Games.

White also joins fellow American Kelly Clark (who won a gold and two bronzes) on top of the overall medal tally for the sport. Both have three Olympic snowboarding medals each.

It was the fourth gold for the United States in Pyeongchang, with all four medals coming in snowboarding. U.S. athletes have managed to claim golds in all snowboarding competitions thus far, with Red Gerard and Jamie Anderson taking honors in men’s and women’s slopestyle, and Chloe Kim winning the women’s halfpipe on Tuesday. 

After White’s disappointing showing at Sochi 2014 and a scary practice fall that left him with 62 stitches on his face last October, he’s reclaimed his place on top of the snowboarding world after the phenomenal performance. The early signs pointed to a White win after he posted a 98.50 score on his second run in the qualifying rounds of the halfpipe on Tuesday.

“I started seeing everyone putting these great runs in and I figured I would step it up,” White told NBC Sports. “They motivated me to send it on that last one.”

He later tweeted that he had been looking forward to the final for four years, since his disappointing performance in Sochi, where he dropped out of the slopestyle competition and placed fourth in the halfpipe.

NBC has been celebrating White and his quest to make history with a third gold medal win, though the network was called out this week for failing to acknowledge that the athlete settled a sexual harassment suit in 2017.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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