Ayumu Hirano made Japanese sporting history on Friday when he won the country's first Olympic snowboarding gold medal, taking the men's halfpipe title at the Beijing Games.

Hirano scored 96.00 points in his third run with a spectacular display that included a triple cork 1440, enough to separate him from Australian Scotty James, who finished in the silver position with 92.50 at Genting Snow Park. Switzerland's Jan Scherrer took bronze.

Hirano won snowboard halfpipe silver at the 2014 and 2018 games, then switched to skateboard and qualified for the Tokyo Olympics before this triumphant return to his roots.