Shaun White dismissed the talk of substandard conditions and produced a huge score in the qualifying round of halfpipe in the Sochi Olympics.
White racked up a 95.75 in his first run Tuesday, the top score in the qualifying round, on a day when Olympic organizers originally announced they were eliminating qualifying in hopes of better conditions, then quickly changed their minds.
Afterward, White promised something special for Tuesday night’s halfpipe final.
“You heard the rumors,” he said. “I’ve been working on some big tricks.”
Could it be the “YOLO” — a double-cork 1440? Or maybe the triple-cork move he worked on for about a year but supposedly abandoned?
“There’s definitely something special,” he said. “I’m going to play it by ear, though.”
The 27-year-old, in search of his third straight gold medal, strung together back-to-back double-corks in his first qualifying heat to score a 95.75. On the second, which he said was just a practice run for things he might try later, White slipped up on his final jump and scored a 70.75.
He qualified directly for the final, as did fellow American Danny Davis.
American Gregory Bretz reached the final after finishing second in the semifinal with an 83.00.
The final U.S. snowboarder, Taylor Gold, finished eighth in the semifinal after falling on his final jump and did not advance. The top six in the semfinal made the final, joining the top six that qualified directly from the first qualification heats.