But, as Australia’s gold medal hope pointed out after qualifying second on Tuesday, it’s also something of a showdown between James and James.
White exhaled after putting up a 93.75 on his first run, assuring the two-time Olympic champion of a spot in the finals. The 31-year-old elder statesmen didn’t plan on trying to go even bigger on his second run, but after watching James, Hirano and American teammate Ben Ferguson go big he realized he didn’t have much choice.
In the scheme of things it’s a relatively short trip down the 180 metre halfpipe with perhaps five tricks, yet as the 23 year-old revealed he spends much of that time talking to himself.
“I started seeing everybody putting in these great runs and I figured I would just kind of step it up and they motivated me to send it,” said White, whose 98.50 second run didn’t even include a 1440-degree jump. That’s a double-twisting double flip (four 360-degree body rotations in all) if you’re trying to keep up.
“I’ve got time to talk to myself. I talk in third person pretty much. I drop in and say ‘ok Scotty, run into this trick – do this and I’ll do it.
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“By the time I’m at the bottom and I’ve put a good run together I’m thinking ‘you bloody better put this down or I am going to be so disappointed'”.
With three runs down the ‘pipe for the final, James will get a little more time to talk to himself than the qualifying round which features just two.
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It, judging controversies aside, gives the greater chance of a rider landing their best run to win the event.
The extraordinary quality of the qualifiers came as no surprise to James, who felt it was increasingly important to jockey for the best starting spots in the final.
“I wanted to finish further back in the field just so I can have a little bit more control of seeing the others and what they are doing and then how I can better my run,” he said.
White finished as the top qualifier, scoring a 98.50 on his second run, and moved a step closer to getting back on an Olympic podium. After a disappointing fourth-place finish in Sochi, the two-time Olympic gold medalist is looking for gold again in his fourth Olympics.
White, as the top qualifier, will drop down the ‘pipe after James in the first run.
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And while there’s still sure to be plenty of talk about what the judges do at the event’s conclusion, at least there’s unlikely to be any grievances about the ‘pipe.
White has absolutely crushed the competition so far in the qualifiers, scoring an incredibly impressive 93.25 on his first run and an astonishing 98.5 on his second run. White and Ben Ferguson, one of his American teammates, were the only two athletes to score above 90 points in their first runs. White’s highly impressive scores in the qualifiers thus far could be a sign of good things to come should he make the halfpipe final on Tuesday (the top 12 competitors from the qualifiers make it to the final, where they contend for Olympic medals).
“I think it is going to be a really exciting final just because of the halfpipe as well,” James said.
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“This is the first Olympics out of the last two I have been to that the halfpipe has been in amazing condition, so it should be good.”
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From a “hangry” gold medalist to Shaun White’s soaring Pyeongchang showing, there was a lot of action Tuesday morning in South Korea. Chloe Kim earned her ice cream in the women’s snowboard halfpipe final, claiming the gold medal in dominating — and we mean dominating — fashion. White caught some big air in qualifying in the men’s halfpipe event, getting back to his old school “Flying Tomato” ways. Meanwhile, the IOC decided early Tuesday to allow the Statue of Liberty image to stand on Team USA goalie masks after the image was being reviewed to determine if it was in violation of the IOC’s ban of political symbols on masks. Other notable events of the day include; Mikaela Shiffrin’s Pyeongchang debut; the men’s halfpipe final; and the figure skating pairs’ short program. Don’t forget to check out how Team USA is faring in the medal count.
Grab some beads because Mardi Gras is here! The annual celebration marks the end of the festive season of Carnival which is celebrated around the world. The name means “Fat Tuesday” in French, a reference to the tradition of indulging in rich, fatty foods before Lent, the season where Christians fast and give up worldly pleasures. Millions of tourists will flock to New Orleans for its famous Bourbon Street Mardi Gras celebrations featuring elaborate parades, costumes and music. Revelers can enjoy traditional sweet treats — like purple, gold and green King Cakes.
Tuesday night brings the highest honor in the canine world: the Best in Show award at the 142nd Westminster Dog Show in New York. At the annual show at Madison Square Garden, judges first select the champs in seven dog groups: hound, toy, non-sporting, herding, sporting, working, and terrier. Those winners then compete for the Best in Show prize. In 2017, a female German shepherd named Rumor overcame disappointment from a year earlier to take the top prize. Fox Sports 1 will provide live coverage of the Group Competition and Best in Show judging from 8-11 p.m. ET.
A British judge is scheduled to quash or uphold an arrest warrant Tuesday for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Assange, who has spent more than five years inside Ecuador’s London embassy to avoid detention, was wanted in Sweden for a rape investigation. Swedish prosecutors dropped the investigation last year, but the British warrant for violating bail conditions still stands. Assange’s lawyers asked for the warrant to be withdrawn, arguing that 5½ years in the embassy has been punishment enough. The judge rejected their request last week.
The 2018 edition of Sports Illustrated’s famous Swimsuit Issue will be revealed on Tuesday, including who will land the coveted cover. Supermodel Kate Upton was last year’s cover star, her third cover for the magazine since 2012. While currently a secret, SI is teasing that this year’s reveal will be a “moment for the ages.” Beyond the cover star, SI has also made waves with this year’s issue by joining the Me Too movement with an empowering “In Her Own Words” project. Sports Illustrated editor M.J. Day said in an interview that the models chose “powerful words, positive words” written across their nude bodies “that represent them and their beliefs and their passions and their messaging.”