It took an almost perfect score of 99.00 from Sochi silver medallist, Japan’s Ayumu Hirano, to clinch the X Games title in Aspen today.
Dual Olympian James was out to defend his 2017 title at his seventh X-Games appearance, and with his famous red boxing gloves on it was all business for the 23-year-old from the first run.
The 2017 World Champion opened with a perfect frontside and backside 1200 to take an early lead with a score of 96.00. However with three athletes from the small 10-man invitational field scoring above 90 in the opening round, it was still anyone’s game.
19-year-old Hirano went into the lead after the second run with a 96.66 before a massive third and final run saw the two-time X Games medallist put down a virtually untouchable score of 99.00 in what commentators said “was the greatest halfpipe run ever done” in X Games.
If anyone was to top Hirano’s run, it was Aussie James. But even with a perfect run just weeks out from his third Olympic Games at PyeongChang, James’ impressive 98.00 fell one point short of the top spot of the podium and American Ben Ferguson claimed bronze also with an impressive run which scored 95.00 points.
With commentators saying today was the “greatest pipe final they’ve ever seen”, the men’s snowboard halfpipe competition in PyeongChang is set to be one of the most highly anticipated events of the Winter Games next month.