SOCHI, Russia — Shaun White was not at the top of the Olympic podium.
In fact, White did not make it to the podium at all.
The face of the sport and the man considered the best snowboarder of his generation finished fourth in the men’s halfpipe at the Olympics on Tuesday night at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.
“I was looking for four [golds] — I was hoping to do slopestlye, too,” said White, who pulled out of the slopestyle event to concentrate on the halfpipe here. “But it didn’t pan out. Tonight was just not my time.”
White, who spoke with reporters in the mixed zone, addressed his struggles in the final
“I am disappointed. I hate the fact that I nailed it in practice, but it happens,” he said. “It’s hard to be consistent.”
White had been attempting to become the first U.S. male to win the same event at three straight Olympics. Instead, he was being hugged by the new champion, Iouri Podladtchikov of Switzerland, charmingly known as I-Pod.
The charismatic Swiss rider had a dazzling second run, finishing with a score of 94.75.
Fifteen-year old Ayumu Hirano of Japan finished second (93.50) and his countryman Taku Hiraoka won the bronze (92.25).
The other two Americans in the field, Danny Davis and Greg Bretz, finished 10th and 12th. White was the only American to finish a run without tumbling. He spilled twice on his first run but struggled on three of his landings in the second.
This event traditionally has been dominated by the United States since it debuted at the Olympics in 1998.
The U.S. snowboarders, particularly White and Davis, were critical of the halfpipe conditions in training.