American Shaun White landed two jaw-dropping runs in qualifying for the men's halfpipe on Monday to advance to Tuesday's final. James will square off against American Shaun White and Japan's Ayumu Hirano in arguably the greatest halfpipe showdown in Winter Olympics history.
Meanwhile, Shaun White reminded us why he's a two-time gold medalist in the pipe, throwing an insane 98.50 for his final run in the qualifiers.
Last month double Olympic halfpipe champion White made headlines when he earned a flawless 100 score at the US Grand Prix to qualify for a fourth Games in PyeongChang. White made his debut at the 2006 Winter Olympics more than ten years ago, and at this year's games, he's still known as the Flying Tomato to fans.
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Then, James came out and stomped back-to-back double cork 1260s on his first two hits.
It was a good sign for White, as much for landing a clean run as for the judges' opinion of it.
"Dude's always going big", said Ben Ferguson, White's USA teammate.
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Later, White had scored a near ideal 98.5 during the qualifying rounds. White received 100 at the U.S. Grand Prix on January 13, a score that is only given to the final rider if warranted to leave judges with room to maneuver in a sport without start values.
"I assumed Shaun would answer back like that", he said. "There's such a buildup to get to the Olympics, people forget you've still have to qualify for the finals". He said, in his eyes, that White last month fell short of a 100: "I didn't think the run was that progressive, given where the sport is now". Not because of getting second place, I am not a sore loser. "I figured I would send it on that last one".
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"[My runs] didn't go the way I had planned them to but I still had fun", he said.