SAPPORO – Andy Finch of the United States held off Japan’s Takaharu Nakai to claim the men’s halfpipe title Sunday for his first career victory on the World Cup circuit.
In the absence of his compatriots who swept the podium at last month’s Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, Finch earned the highest score of 44.4 points in the final to edge Nakai by 0.9 point at the Makomanai ski area in Hokkaido.
Nakai, an Aomori Yamada high school student who finished fifth in Salt Lake City, cleanly executed an intricate combination of aerial flips and twists he tried for the first time in competition.
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