Shaun White nearly perfect in advancing to halfpipe finals

Now it’s Shaun White’s turn.

What has become a festival of red, white and blue at Phoenix Snow Park in South Korea began with 17-year-old American Red Gerard putting down an epic final gold-medal winning run, continued with Jamie Anderson surviving a blustery course that saw nearly every rider take a fall, reached full dominance with the lovable Chloe Kim, whose stunning, near-flawless display in the halfpipe earned the 17-year-old a gold medal and a legion of social media followers. 

And all of this is, unbelievably enough, the warm-up to what is likely to be the final act of the magnificent, decorated career of Shaun White.

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Shaun White during men's snowboard halfpipe events
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Shaun White during men's snowboard halfpipe events
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 13: Shaun White of the United States looks on following his first run during the Snowboard Men's Halfpipe Qualification on day four of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Phoenix Snow Park on February 13, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 14: Shaun White of the United States warms up ahead of the Snowboard Men's Halfpipe Final on day five of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics at Phoenix Snow Park on February 14, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 14: Shaun White of the United States warms up ahead of the Snowboard Men's Halfpipe Final on day five of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics at Phoenix Snow Park on February 14, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 14: Shaun White of the United States crashes in his second run during the Snowboard Men's Halfpipe Final on day five of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics at Phoenix Snow Park on February 14, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 13: Shaun White of the United States warms ahead of the Snowboard Men's Halfpipe Qualification on day four of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Phoenix Snow Park on February 13, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Pyeongchang-gun , South Korea - 13 February 2018; Shaun White of USA in action during the Halfpipe Qualifications on day four of the Winter Olympics at the Phoenix Snow Park in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)
Pyeongchang-gun , South Korea - 13 February 2018; Shaun White of USA celebrates his 98.50 score after the Halfpipe Qualifications on day four of the Winter Olympics at the Phoenix Snow Park in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - US Shaun White competes during qualification of the men's snowboard halfpipe at the Phoenix Park during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games on February 13, 2018 in Pyeongchang. / AFP PHOTO / LOIC VENANCE (Photo credit should read LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 13: Shaun White of the United States competes during the Snowboard Men's Halfpipe Qualification on day four of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Phoenix Snow Park on February 13, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
Pyeongchang-gun , South Korea - 13 February 2018; Shaun White of USA in action during the Halfpipe Qualifications on day four of the Winter Olympics at the Phoenix Snow Park in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 13: Shaun White of the United States competes during the Snowboard Men's Halfpipe Qualification on day four of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Phoenix Snow Park on February 13, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Snowboarding - Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics - Men's Halfpipe Qualification - Phoenix Snow Park - Pyeongchang, South Korea - February 13, 2018 - Shaun White of the U.S. competes. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Snowboarding - Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics - Men's Halfpipe Qualification - Phoenix Snow Park - Pyeongchang, South Korea - February 13, 2018 - Shaun White of the U.S. competes. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez
Snowboarding - Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics - Men's Halfpipe Qualification - Phoenix Snow Park - Pyeongchang, South Korea - February 13, 2018 - Shaun White of the U.S. reacts after his run. REUTERS/Mike Blake
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You know Shaun White. Even if you don’t know snowboarding, you’ve likely heard the name, or perhaps a few of his other monikers, namely “The Flying Tomato.” He’s won a pair of Olympic golds, and his score in the halfpipe from the Turin Olympics in 2006 still stands as the record. If you sort of care for snowboarding, White is the owner of 13 X Games golds. If you don’t care for snowboarding or the X Games, he has his own video game.

On Tuesday in PyeongChang, he showed the world, again, why he’s still the best in the world, despite a disappointing miss on the podium in Sochi in 2014. His first halfpipe qualifying run of 93.25 put him atop the standings, and with 12 riders making it through to Wednesday’s finals, there was no doubt that he would, for the fourth consecutive Olympics, vie for a medal.

A gold is still far from a guarantee. Japanese sensation Ayumu Hirano briefly took the top spot with his 95.25, which preceded Australian flag bearer Scotty James’ scintillating run and a 96.25.

But then White upstaged them all, just because, scoring a 98.50 on his final run, reintroducing himself as the favorite to win gold.

Advancing alongside White are Americans Ben Ferguson, Jake Pates and Chase Josey. The finals begin on Wednesday.

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