Ayumu Hirano finally clinched gold in men’s halfpipe snowboarding as sliding legend Shaun White narrowly missed out on a medal at his last Winter Olympics.
Hirano could only win silver medals at Sochi 2014 and Pyeongchang 2018, and he again held second place behind Australian rival Scotty James heading into his third and final run.
The Japanese star executed a perfect triple cork 1440 followed by a consecutive 1260 and a frontside 1440 to claim a score of 96.00 and his first Olympic title.
James finished second with a score of 92.50, while Swiss athlete Jan Scherrer took bronze with 87.25.
White turned back time with a second run that scored 85.00, but on his final attempt the 35-year-old attempted an ambitious jump which he couldn’t land, ending his medal hopes finishing in fourth place.
An emotional white man, who confirmed before Beijing 2022 that these would be his last Games, said: “Snowboarding, thank you. It’s the love of my life.”
Hirano was delighted with his win and claimed the anger he felt at being scored lower than James on his second run prompted him to pull off a near-perfect final run.
“I did what I wanted to do in the end,” Hirano said. “I couldn’t accept the score of the second set, but I managed to express my anger well at the end.”
Schulting confirms speed skating dominance
Suzanne Schulting won gold in the 1,000m short track speed skating event on Friday, retaining the title she won four years ago in Pyeongchang, becoming the first woman since 1998 to win back-to-back Olympic titles in short track speed skating.
After breaking the world record in the quarter-finals (one minute, 26.514 seconds), Dutch star Schulting narrowly beat South Korean Choi Min-jeong in 1:28.391.
Belgian Hanne Desmet clinched bronze after a collision between Italian Arianna Fontana and American Kristen Santos.
“I got really confident after breaking a world record,” Schulting said after her victory. “I was concentrating on what I had to do and on my technique. It’s crazy.”
Bittersweet day for Shiffrin
These were Games to forget for Mikaela Shiffrin. The American was expected to win several medals in Beijing, but skied in both the giant slalom and slalom events, and even questioned whether she would continue to compete after those disappointments.
However, she hit the slopes for the women’s super-G on Friday, and although she didn’t medal, she did at least finish the race.
“It was really nice to ski today,” said Shiffrin after finishing ninth. “There’s a lot of disappointment over the past week. There’s a lot of emotion. [It was] not really easy to reset and to know if I was ready for the challenge today.
“The track itself is beautiful, the weather is great and the snow is amazing. To come back and get the chance to race again was just the perfect thing to do, actually.
“It’s possible to feel both proud of a career and sad for the moment you find yourself in.”
The super-G was won by Swiss athlete Lara Gut-Behrami, Austrian Mirjam Puchner took silver and another Swiss competitor, Michelle Gisin, bronze.
Germany doesn’t care about the skeleton
It was a German double in the first completed skeleton event at Beijing 2022, with Christopher Grotheer and Axel Jungk taking gold and silver respectively in the men’s event.
Grotheer was comfortable at the end with his time of four minutes, 1.01 seconds, putting him two-thirds of a second ahead of his compatriot (4:01.67), China’s Yan Wengang taking bronze (4:01.67). : 01.77).
Elsewhere, Finland’s Iivo Niskanen claimed his third Olympic gold medal after winning the men’s 15km classic in cross-country skiing, ahead of Alexander Bolshunov of the Russian Olympic Committee and Norway’s Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo.
An exhausted Niskanen fell in the snow after crossing the line in a time of 37 minutes, 54.8 seconds.
Norway’s Marte Olsbu Roeiseland won her third medal of the Games with gold in the women’s 7.5 km biathlon sprint, hitting all 10 targets before finishing ahead of Sweden’s Elvira Oeberg and Italy’s Dorothea Wierer.
In women’s ice hockey, the United States and Canada comfortably secured their place in the semifinals with victories over the Czech Republic and Sweden, with Canada beating the Swedes 11-0.