ASPEN, COLORADO - Yuto Totsuka finished third in men’s halfpipe Saturday at a snowboard World Cup event in the United States.
The 16-year-old Totsuka scored 94.50 points in the event won by American superstar Shaun White, who nailed a perfect 100 to secure his place at the Pyeongchang Games in South Korea. Australia’s Scotty James was second with 96.25.
Totsuka is off to a great first season on the World Cup circuit, with three podium finishes in three starts beginning with his victory on his debut last September.
White’s winning run Saturday included two of the toughest tricks on the halfpipe — the Double McTwist 1260 that he patented and the frontside double cork 1440.
White will be among the favorites when he goes for his third gold medal next month in South Korea. White took the gold at the 2006 Games in Turin, Italy, and again in Vancouver in 2014.
He missed out on a hat trick in Sochi, Russia, finishing fourth. Switzerland’s Iouri Podladtchikov won gold that year and was followed by Japan’s only two men’s halfpipe medalists, Ayumu Hirano, who finished second, and Taku Hiraoka, who earned the bronze medal.
Ben Ferguson finished fifth to secure his spot on the U.S. team; he’ll join White and Jake Pates on the Olympic team. Danny Davis is among those now competing for a possible fourth spot.
In the women’s halfpipe, Hikaru Oe was the closest Japanese rider to the podium in fifth with 77.00 points.
Spain’s Queralt Castellet won with 91.50 and was followed by Chloe Kim, Maddie Mastro and Kelly Clark. Kim has already qualified, while Mastro and Clark have the edge for the other two spots heading into next weekend’s final qualifying event.