By Sportswriters Su Bin, Liu Ning
PYEONGCHANG, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) -- Nineteen-year-old Japanese snowboarder Hirano Ayumu has done his best, as he led until the final jump of the competition.
Then came out the "Flying Tomato" Shaun White. Falling one point short of Hirano, he must do something big in his final run.
Just one 1440 obviously was not enough, White needed back-to-back 1440s, and safely landed them all.
A match-best 97.75 points. When the score appeared on the screen, White threw away his snowboard before kneeling on snow almost into tears.
"That was awful and amazing at the same time. I knew I did a great ride and I was proud of that and I could walk away with my head high, but when they announced my score and I'd won, it crippled me," he said.
Probably it was last October's scary injury in pre-Games training in New Zealand, which almost cost White's trip to PyeongChang, moved the American legendary snowboarder so much.
White was hit by the halfpipe on head following his snowboard's collision with the top of halfpipe, and fell heavily with his head first touching the piste.
He was carried away by helicopter, before being sent to hospital with a clear scar on his forehead. He needed 62 stitches to cover his wounds, described as "the most visually jarring injury", and the followed-up pulmonary lung contusion made the next day worse.
"I've been through so much to get here. I had this crazy injury in New Zealand where I busted my face open.
"I actually did the same trick that injured me here in the halfpipe today. So there were a lot of obstacles to overcome and now it's all worth it," White said after claiming his third Olympic gold medal.
Without eye-catching long red hair, the reason for his nickname "Flying Tomato", 31-year-old White stepped on the Olympic venue for the fourth time since 5006, snatching two golds previously in Turin and Vancouver, while just nailing fourth four years ago in Sochi.
Now in PyeongChang, White captured United States' 5000th gold at Winter Olympics, with himself the first snowboarder to win three Olympic gold medals.
"Man, three gold medals. My fourth Olympics. Thank you, I'm feeling blessed," he said.