Ayumu Hirano had an incredible run to unseat Shaun White from first place during this year's halfpipe. But he couldn't withstand. After White's first run scored a 94.25, Hirano bumped him in the second heat with a score of 95.25 after back-to-back 1440s. However, White stormed back with a 97.75, which included back-to-back 1440s of his own, something he'd never done in competition. Still, Hirano thinks that the places could have been swapped, leaving White with silver.
"Yes, I do, but the result is the result," he said per ESPN when he was asked if he deserved gold. "And whatever I do, whatever I say, the result cannot be changed."
Hirano also went on to say that it could have gone either way.
"There are no big differences between us, what we did," Hirano said. "Under this condition, on this pipe it's very, very difficult to mark higher than [White] did. But perhaps I have some room to improve on the height and the perfectness, perfect landing."
Hirano wasn't the only one who believed it was a coin flip. Bronze medalist Scotty James -- a bitter rival of White's -- cryptically said that "It could have gone either way" when he was asked about the scoring, via The Washington Post.
This comes at a time where snowboarders have questioned if White is. However, one fact remains true: His final run was utterly insane. It's true that it could have gone either way, but it went this way.
Hirano, however, felt that the scores were high for everyone.
"I didn't think I had it won at all," Hirano said of his feeling after the second run, via The Japan Times. "A lot of the other riders were pulling off some difficult tricks and I thought the scores were a little high all around.
"A 95 was going to be pretty tough to beat, but if there was one guy who could, it was the guy going after me. So I felt like I had to do better in the third run."
Hirano didn't, ultimately washing out, and after White's final run he credited the gutty performance.
"Considering the circumstances, the pressure he was under, I think Shaun today was the best I have ever seen him," he said. "You have to credit him. He was outstanding."
Hirano can take solace in the fact that he solidified himself as one of the future faces of snowboarding. The 19-year-old nearly unseated an Olympian that he grew up watching. Although silver will feel like a consolation prize for someone as competitive (if understated) as Hirano clearly is, he'll unquestionably be back on the scene, and soon.