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Olympic men's snowboard halfpipe wraps up

Published On: Feb 11 2014 12:32:11 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 12 2014 12:34:04 AM CST
Shaun White, 2014 Olympic halfpipe qualifier

Dylan Martinez/Reuters

With missteps on both of his two final runs in the Olympic halfpipe Tuesday, Shaun White couldn't pull out a gold medal three-peat.

Instead, the American snowboarding icon had to settle for fourth place in Sochi. He fell on his first run and couldn't deliver a clean enough performance in his second run to add to the Olympic golds he won in the event in 2006 and 2010.

Switzerland's Iouri Podladtchikov won gold and Japanese countrymen Ayumu Hirano and Taku Hiraoka captured silver and bronze in the event.

The other Americans who made it through to the final, Danny Davis and Greg Bretz, each fell on both of their runs in the final, finishing 10th and 12th, respectively.

White, 27, was also supposed to take part in the new snowboard slopestyle event last week, but pulled out after jamming his wrist on a practice run to instead focus on defending his halfpipe title.

White holds the X Games record for gold medals (15, including 13 at the Winter X Games) and highest overall medal count (23). He passed on the 2014 Winter X Games to in order train for Sochi.

White and Davis qualified directly to the finals earlier Tuesday morning, while fellow Bretz and fellow American Taylor Gold performed well enough to move onto the semifinals. Bretz had the second-highest score of the semifinals to advance while Gold finished eighth in the semis and failed to advance, finishing 14th overall.

Davis, a 25-year-old Michigan native, capitalized on White's absence at the Winter X Games last month, taking gold in the SuperPipe event long dominated by the former "Flying Tomato." The medal was Davis' first at a X Games.

Davis had been in contention for a spot on the U.S. Olympic team for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, but a back injury suffered in an ATV accident ended his 2010 season and Olympic aspirations.

Bretz, a 23-year-old Californian, finished in third place behind Davis and fellow American Louie Vito at the Winter X Games last month, earning his first X Games medal. He made his Olympic debut four years ago, but finished in 12th place.

He arrived in Sochi on a hot streak, including beating White in the first of five Olympic selection events during the Dew Tour iON Mountain Championships in December. He followed that up with a second-place finish in the next selection event as part of the U.S. Grand Prix to secure his spot.

Meanwhile, U.S. snowboarding rookie Gold reached the podium in four of the five qualification events, including a first-place finish over Bretz, to reach his first Olympics at age 20. The Steamboat Springs, Colo., resident's sister, Arielle, 17, also is making her Olympic debut in the women's snowboard halfpipe.

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