An NBC Commentator Loses His Mind Over Ayumu Hirano's Dramatic Halfpipe Run
Japan's Ayumu Hirano ranked first at the qualifiers, meaning that he competed last in each of his three runs in the final, adding to the nail-biting suspense of the race. The 23-year-old three-time Olympic medalist made history when he became the first halfpipe snowboarder to land a triple cork at the Olympics – and not just one, but three, despite never having landed one before in a competition. And yet the road to gold-medal victory was not smooth. He stumbled after successfully executing the triple cork in the first run, putting him behind Australia's Scotty James. In Run 2, he blew the competition away, to the point that NBC's commentators called it the best run they'd ever seen and a guaranteed gold medal.
However, the judges issued a score of 91.75, prompting audible booing from the crowd. Commentator Todd Richards voiced what everyone was thinking when he launched into a rant that ended up going viral: "As far as I’m concerned, the judges just grenaded all their credibility," Richards, a former Olympian, seven-time X Games medalist and four-time Olympic commentator said at one point. "That run — I’ve been doing this for so long... I know when I see the best run that’s ever been done in the halfpipe. Try to tell me where you’re deducting from this run. It’s unbelievable that this is even happening — it’s a travesty, to be completely honest with you. I am irate right now."
Luckily, Hirano pulled through with a massive third run, garnering the gold medal with a 96-point score. "I did what I wanted to do right at the end — I wasn't able to accept the second run's score," said Hirano afterwards. "But I managed to express my anger well at the end."
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