Gold medal winner Shaun White, of the United States, celebrates after finishing his run during the men's halfpipe finals at Phoenix Snow Park at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
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Snowboarding at the Olympics turned 20 this year, and there's a good chance that in another two decades, people will still be talking about the contest that went down in the mountains of South Korea on Wednesday.It wasn't so much that White won his third gold medal to place his name among the greatest to compete in the Olympics, or in any realm of sports, for that matter.On the winning trip, White got the tough stuff out of the way early, dropping straight into the halfpipe, flying nearly 20 feet above it and whipping his body around twice while going head-over-heels two times for the first 1440 .It was enough to beat Ayumu Hirano, the 5-foot-2, 19-year-old from Japan who has been asked, quite often, exactly when he was going to beat Shaun White.It was Hirano, who now has back-to-back Olympic silvers, who set the stakes for these games by becoming the first man to land the back-to-back 14s at the Winter X Games last month. He did it again on his second run under a slate-gray sky in Pyeongchang to set the mark (95.25) that White would have to beat.White would be the first to admit that a lot of that fame came because of the Olympics.
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