Shaun White falls short in Olympic men's snowboard halfpipe finals

The two-time US gold medal winner the past two Winter Olympics finished behind competitors from Switzerland and Japan on Tuesday.

Andy Wong/AP
Switzerland's Iouri Podladtchikov, left, celebrates with Shaun White of the United States after Podladtchikov won the gold medal in the men's snowboard halfpipe final at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia.

As US Olympic snowboarder Shaun White discovered Tuesday, it's hard to win three consecutive times at anything, including the men's halfpipe snowboard event at the Sochi Winter Olympics.

The two-time defending gold medal champion finished out of the medals Tuesday night in Sochi, ending up in fourth place with a score of 90.25. Iouri Podladtchikov of Switzerland won the gold medal with a score of 94.75.

A pair of Japanese snowboarders, Ayumu Hirano and Taku Hiraoka, finished in the silver and bronze positions with scores of 93.50 and 92.25 respectively.

In halfpipe snowboarding, it's all about the tricks - the flips and spins that competitors do in the air over the sides of the halfpipe and the numerical value of difficulty each trick provides.

The trick that White couldn't master is called "YOLO" — You Only Live Once. Podladtchikov created it and landed it successfully. White tried it twice, but couldn't match the man known as  "I-Pod."

On White's first of two runs in the final, his attempt at the Yolo ended with a fall that left him sliding down the halfpipe on his backside. Even though his chance at putting up a winning score was over, he tried to finish the run with another of his double-cork tricks. White wasn't close — his board slammed on the lip of the pipe, followed by an awkward and painful fall onto his rear.

"I'm disappointed," White said. "I hate the fact I nailed it in practice, but it happens. It's hard to be consistent."

I-Pod had scored an 86.5 in his first run — clearly in medal contention — and then won it on his second attempt. The Yolo includes a total of 1440 degrees of spin — two head-over-heels flips and two 360-degree turns. Four years ago, it was unthinkable, but not anymore. He landed it and even though he only threw five tricks, when most riders were trying six in a super-sized, super-slushy halfpipe, the judges liked what they saw.

"He's incredible," American Danny Davis, the 10th-place finisher, said of Podladtchikov. "That run on that halfpipe. Wow."

Material from the Associated Press was used in this article.

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