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Sochi Olympics

White fails to medal in halfpipe as ‘I-Pod’ takes gold

  • 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. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

    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. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

  • Shaun White of the United States hits the edge of the half pipe during 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. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

    Shaun White of the United States hits the edge of the half pipe during 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. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

  • Switzerland's Iouri Podladtchikov competes 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. Podladtchikov won the gold medal. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

    Switzerland's Iouri Podladtchikov competes 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. Podladtchikov won the gold medal. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • Switzerland's Iouri Podladtchikov competes 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. Podladtchikov won the gold medal. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

    Switzerland's Iouri Podladtchikov competes 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. Podladtchikov won the gold medal. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • Switzerland's Iouri Podladtchikov, bottom, 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. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

    Switzerland's Iouri Podladtchikov, bottom, 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. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

  • 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. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

    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. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

  • Switzerland's Iouri Podladtchikov, center, celebrates his gold medal in the men's snowboard halfpipe final as he is flanked by silver medalist Ayumu Hirano, left, of Japan, and bronze medalist Taku Hiraoka, also of Japan, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. Podladtchikov won the gold medal. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

    Switzerland's Iouri Podladtchikov, center, celebrates his gold medal in the men's snowboard halfpipe final as he is flanked by silver medalist Ayumu Hirano, left, of Japan, and bronze medalist Taku Hiraoka, also of Japan, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. Podladtchikov won the gold medal. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • Ireland' Seamus O'Connor crashes during 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. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

    Ireland' Seamus O'Connor crashes during 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. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • Shaun White of the United States bounces off the edge of the half pipe during 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. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

    Shaun White of the United States bounces off the edge of the half pipe during 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. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

  • Shaun White of the United States competes during the men's snowboard halfpipe qualifying session at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

    Shaun White of the United States competes during the men's snowboard halfpipe qualifying session at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

  • Shaun White of the United States competes during the men's snowboard halfpipe qualifying session at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

    Shaun White of the United States competes during the men's snowboard halfpipe qualifying session at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

  • Switzerland's Iouri Podladtchikov celebrates after his second half pipe run during 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. Podladtchikov won the gold medal. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

    Switzerland's Iouri Podladtchikov celebrates after his second half pipe run during 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. Podladtchikov won the gold medal. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

  • Japan's Taku Hiraoka competes 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. Taku Hiraoka won the bronze medal. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

    Japan's Taku Hiraoka competes 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. Taku Hiraoka won the bronze medal. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • 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. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

    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. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

  • 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. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
  • Shaun White of the United States hits the edge of the half pipe during 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. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
  • Switzerland's Iouri Podladtchikov competes 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. Podladtchikov won the gold medal. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
  • Switzerland's Iouri Podladtchikov competes 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. Podladtchikov won the gold medal. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
  • Switzerland's Iouri Podladtchikov, bottom, 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. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
  • 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. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
  • Switzerland's Iouri Podladtchikov, center, celebrates his gold medal in the men's snowboard halfpipe final as he is flanked by silver medalist Ayumu Hirano, left, of Japan, and bronze medalist Taku Hiraoka, also of Japan, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. Podladtchikov won the gold medal. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
  • Ireland' Seamus O'Connor crashes during 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. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
  • Shaun White of the United States bounces off the edge of the half pipe during 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. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
  • Shaun White of the United States competes during the men's snowboard halfpipe qualifying session at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
  • Shaun White of the United States competes during the men's snowboard halfpipe qualifying session at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
  • Switzerland's Iouri Podladtchikov celebrates after his second half pipe run during 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. Podladtchikov won the gold medal. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
  • Japan's Taku Hiraoka competes 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. Taku Hiraoka won the bronze medal. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
  • 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. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia – Shaun White lost to a kid they call the “I-Pod,” and now, he may never hear the end of it.

How big of an Olympic shocker was this? White, the best snowboarder of his era and one of the best-known and best-marketed athletes at the Sochi Games, didn’t even win a medal. He finished fourth.

The 27-year-old American, who opted out of the Olympic slopestyle debut and put all his chips in the halfpipe, where he hoped to win a third straight gold medal, got knocked off by Iouri Podladtchikov, the Russian-born inventor of the “Yolo,” the trick that White could not master.

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

The Japanese pair of 15-year-old Ayumu Hirano and 18-year-old Taku Hiraoka won silver and bronze, and the Americans were shut out on the halfpipe for the first time since the sport was introduced to the Olympics in 1998.

Podladtchikov, who now lives in and competes for Switzerland, landed the trick successfully at an event in Europe last season, but hadn’t done it since.

“I’m about to faint. I haven’t seen the gold yet,” said Podladtchikov, who gets his gold today. “That’s why I don’t believe it.”

White watched the replay of I-Pod’s trick last March on his computer and went to work trying to match it.

He landed it twice in qualifying events and was listed as the heavy favorite to become the seventh person to win three straight gold medals in an individual event at the Winter Games.

White had come to Russia hoping to win two gold medals, but when he pulled out of the Olympics’ inaugural slopestyle contest, saying he didn’t want to risk injury for his historic quest on the halfpipe, the stakes were set.

It unraveled early.

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-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 supersized, super-slushy halfpipe, the judges liked what they saw.

As did I-Pod, who spiked his snowboard into the ground like a football and threw his goggles into the crowd.

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

I-Pod struggled in the qualifying round earlier yesterday, forcing him into a semifinal round while the White and the five other top scorers went directly to the final. The extra runs seemed to help, as did the cold night air which seemed to improve the condition of the halfpipe, which competitors had been complaining about all week.

I-Pod scored 87.50 on his first semifinal run, clearing his way to the final. His 94.75 in the second final run huge pressure on White, whose final runs at the last two Olympics have been nothing more than pressure-free victory rides.

White stood at the top of the halfpipe, high-fived and bumped knuckles with his coach, clapped his hands and away he went.

The first two jumps were flawless – higher than anyone and landed more solidly.

Then, the Yolo. Tucking his hands together to generate torque, then waving one like a cowboy riding a bucking bronc, the form looked good during his three seconds in the air.

But on the landing, he skittered down the pipe and lost speed, which meant he lost height on the next jump, as well.

The landing on his last double cork was less than perfect, too – his knees buckled and nearly touched the snow. Across the finish line, White raised one finger in the air and raised his hands in victory. Yes, sometimes judges reward athletes for what they’ve done, not what they just did.

Not this time. White’s fourth-place score, a 90.25, came up, and he broke into a big smile. He gave Podladtchikov a big hug and fatherly mussed his hair. That kid earned it. And the champion had nothing to complain about.

“I saw videos of Shaun doing it really well,” I-Pod said. “I got bummed, said, ‘Damn, that’s my trick and he’s doing it better than me.’ Today, I guess I was doing it a little better.”

In other news around the Games, the most decorated country in Winter Olympic history earned four more medals yesterday. Norway won double gold in the cross-country freestyle sprints while picking up silver medals in the women’s sprint and in the women’s 10-kilometer biathlon pursuit. That gave the Norwegians the medal lead as the games concluded their fifth day, and it pushed their overall total to 317 since the Winter Olympics began in 1924.

Cross-country

Ola Vigen Hattestad took the early lead, avoided the crash behind him and then held off Teodor Peterson of Sweden for the gold. Peterson finished 1.2 seconds behind for silver. Vesna Fabjan of Slovenia won the bronze in the women’s sprint. Besides Randall, Marit Bjoergen of Norway was also eliminated early.

Another U.S. gold medal prospect, cross-country skier Kikkan Randall, was eliminated in the qualifying rounds of the women’s freestyle sprint. Maiken Caspersen Falla of Norway took the gold in that race, with teammate Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg earning silver.

Biathlon

Darya Domracheva of Belarus led for most of the women’s 10-kilometer pursuit race, missing only the last target before finishing in 29 minutes, 30.7 seconds. Tora Berger of Norway took silver, and Teja Gregorin of Slovenia claimed the bronze.

Speedskating

Lee Sang-hwa won the women’s 500 meters and set an Olympic record of 37.28 seconds in her second race, beating the mark of 37.30 set by Catriona Le May Doan at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics. Her combined time of 1 minute, 14.70 seconds also was an Olympic record, beating Le May Doan’s mark of 1:14.75. Olga Fatkulina of Russia won the silver, and Margot Boer of the Netherlands got the bronze.

Luge

Natalie Geisenberger’s victory was Germany’s fifth straight in women’s luge. Teammate Tatjana Huefner won the silver and Erin Hamlin picked up the bronze, the first singles luge medal ever for the United States.

Ski jumping

Carina Vogt won the first gold medal in women’s ski jumping. The 22-year-old German overcame heavy favorite Sara Takanashi, the World Cup leader in the sport who ended up a disappointing fourth. Daniela Iraschko-Stolz of Austria took silver and Colin Mattell of France earned bronze.

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thats too bad....

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