Hirano gold, Scotty James SILVER in snowboard halfpipe in Beijing

Scotty James reacts after winning Silver in the Men’s Snowboard Halfpipe Final at the Genting Snow Park, during the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games, in Beijing, China, Friday, February 11, 2022. (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)

Australian snowboard star Scotty James has no regrets about leaving the game-changing triple cork out of his Olympic halfpipe run, despite giving up the gold medal to Ayumu Hirano.

The Japanese star, who had won silver at the past two Games, became the first snowboarder to complete a run in competition that included the sport’s most difficult trick and it proved the difference between the two.

Hirano, who also competed in the park skateboarding at the Tokyo Olympics, snatched the gold medal with a flawless final run at Genting Snow Park that earned 96.00 to top James’s best of 92:50.

American legend and three-time Olympic champion Shaun White was emotional as he ended his career with fourth place, while at the other end of the spectrum, 16-year-old Australian Valentino Guseli took sixth in an impressive Games debut.

Swiss Jan Scherrer won bronze after scoring 87.25 in his second run.

Scotty James of Australia competes during the Men’s Snowboard Halfpipe Final at the Genting Snow Park, during the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games, in Beijing, China, Friday, February 11, 2022. (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)

James was unable to execute his third run but felt that if he had, the tricks he planned may have been enough to best Hirano, even without a frontside triple cork.

And the proof was there with James’ silver medal run earning more than Hirano’s second, which also included the triple, due to its technical superiority.

The 27-year-old, who also won bronze in PyeongChang, said he discussed it with coach James Jackson and given a number of riders, including himself on the first, had fallen midway on the right side of the pipe, decided it was too high risk.

“We’ve trained the triple cork … It was in my plan to do it but you can’t predict what’s going to happen on the day and in that moment it’s not a trick to mess around with; the margin for error is none,” James said.

“We tried to add another 1260 in the middle to boost my score a little bit more and I came unstuck.

“I was happy with my run, and adding in what we did and executing as well as I would have liked to, I think it would have come very close.

“Whether I would have stood on top or just behind like I did, who knows.”

James said he needed to go on to the next Olympics in Cortina, Italy, in four years time to win gold and complete his medal collection.

As much as he wanted gold in Beijing, he insisted he was satisfied with the outcome.

“I’m over the moon with the silver … I might have looked upset but I’m not upset at all I’m honestly really proud of the result and of being Australian and standing on the podium in a winter sport.

“Aside from my personal accolade I wear that really heavily on my shoulders and I’m really proud of that and I’m proud of standing on the podium and getting silver.”

Scotty James reacts during a ceremony after winning Silver in the Men’s Snowboard Halfpipe Final at the Genting Snow Park, during the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games, in Beijing, China, Friday, February 11, 2022. (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)

Australia now has three medals at the Beijing Games, equalling its best haul at a Winter Olympics.

Jakara Anthony won gold in the moguls and Tess Coady took bronze in slopestyle.
Australia has won 18 Winter Olympics medals in total – six gold, six silver and six bronze.
White, nicknamed the Flying Tomato and an all-time Winter Olympics great, fell on his last run before retirement.

His 85.00 second run was good enough for fourth and he was emotional as the small crowd gave him a rousing send-off.

“It’s hard for me to not get hung up on that last run – I wanted it so badly,” the 35-year-old said.

“I’m proud to be here for my final goodbye.”

Valentino Guseli posted 75.75 and held second spot after the first run and then earned two scores of 79.75.

The NSW country kid said he had achieved his Olympic goal of making the final, and was thrilled to finish sixth.

“It was one of the biggest showings of competitive snowboard ever and it was awesome to be a part of it,” Guseli said.

“I’m super happy to have landed my runs.”

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We've teamed up with Australian Associated Press to ensure you get both accurate and up to date reporting for the Beijing 2022 Games from the AAP team of top notch reporters, veteran sports reporter Melissa Woods and award winning photographer Dan Himbrechts and SnowsBest editors at HQ.