Shaun White qualifies first in halfpipe, sends a message

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Shaun White qualifies first in halfpipe, sends a message

White, who already has racked up 13 gold medals at the Winter X Games over the years, previously placed fourth place during the Sochi Olympics four years ago.

Australian flag bearer Scotty James will go up against U.S. legend Shaun White and Japanese flyer Ayumu Hirano for a gold medal on Wednesday. The two-time Olympic gold medalist in halfpipe (2006, 2010) and 12-time Winter X Games gold medalist is one of the biggest names in Winter Olympics, and he's turned his disappointment in 2014 into motivation for 2018.

This shouldn't be a problem for White, who has finished with the top score in his qualifying heat in each of his three Olympic games, per Sports Reference.

White, James and Hirano offer contrasting styles, and if they're all at their best - which recent form suggests - it leaves the judges with a subjective decision. A score so solid, that none of the other competitors could match it by her final run.

"That", snowboarder Rakai Tait of New Zealand said, "was as close to ideal as you can get".

James briefly led during the second run, before White produced his best score of the day. "I always mention [White] when others seemed anxious and it instantly helped", said Brown.

"I remember him being around but he wasn't as passionate; as driven as he is today", the American said.

On most occasions, riders choose to keep their runs relatively mellow during the qualifying round - especially when they're not in any danger of missing the final. "I was just curious as to the 100". "We were like, oh here we go, people are going to be hounding us, dude".

White was one of four Americans to qualify for the final, joining Ben Ferguson, Chase Josey and Jake Pates.

"I would have loved to have skated into finals on my 93 (points) but everybody started putting it down", White said. "I did a little bit of meditation at the top, put some good tunes in and got myself hyped up again". Filled with entertainment, wonder and an overall feeling that everything is going right, this is one event you will certainly want to tune into.

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