Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

Ayumu Hirano, Olympic halfpipe silver medalist, ends 3-year break

Ayumu Hirano

PYEONGCHANG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 14: Gold medalist Shaun White #2 of the United States is congratulated by silver medalist Ayumu Hirano #3 of Japan in the Snowboard Men’s Halfpipe competition at Phoenix Snow Park on February 14, 2018 in PyeongChang, South Korea. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

Corbis via Getty Images

Ayumu Hirano, the snowboard halfpipe silver medalist at the last two Olympics and primary Shaun White rival, competed in a top-level contest for the first time in nearly three years on Thursday.

Hirano, a 22-year-old from Japan, won a U.S. Revolution Tour event in Aspen, Colo., against a field of Americans, mostly teenagers, who have never been to an Olympics.

It marked his first top-level event since winning the March 2018 Burton U.S. Open, a month after his second consecutive runner-up finish at the Olympics.

Since PyeongChang, Hirano indicated a bid to qualify for skateboarding’s Olympic debut in Tokyo, like White (who then gave it up a year ago). He competed in the 2019 World Championships in the park discipline, finishing 17th (best of the four Japanese in the field).

In Olympic park qualifying, he’s the highest-ranked man from Japan, which gets an automatic spot as host nation.

In PyeongChang, then-5-foot-3 Hirano became the first snowboarder to land back-to-back double cork 1440s at an Olympics, taking the lead in the second of three runs.

But in the last run, White attempted the same combination -- for the first time in his competition career -- and landed it to win -- 97.75 to 95.25.

In 2014, Hirano became the second-youngest man to win a Winter Olympic medal, according to

White’s last snowboard contest was the PyeongChang Olympics. He was slated to return at the Winter X Games on Jan. 31 but withdrew with a knee injury.

The world championships are in Aspen in two weeks.

h/t Aspen Times

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!