Official reveals how Scotty James was inches from gold

Olympic Winter Institute CEO Geoff Lipshut has revealed how Scotty James came within inches of winning gold in the men's halfpipe.

American superstar Shaun White claimed his third Olympic gold as Japan's Ayumu Hirano edged into second in what was billed as the greatest head-to-head contest of these Games.

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There were no perfect scores and no arguments about judging as the world's greatest snowboarder and his young contemporary left James with a halfpipe bronze medal.

However Lipshut says James could have won the competition on his second run had he not dragged his arm attempting a 1440.

James in action on Wednesday. Image: Getty

The Aussie had produced a near-perfect run until coming unstuck on his final trick, putting his hand down to stay upright and narrowly missing a massive score.

Lipshut said after discussions with judges he was told James didn't need to do such a big trick and could have won gold without it on that run.

James got his medal with his first run of 92 points but ultimately couldn't match the silky skills of White who snatched gold with his last effort of 97.75.

Hirano, who led with his 95.25 in the second of three rounds, slotted between the two.

"I came out expecting a really good fight and that's exactly what it was," said James.

"You only get one time every four years to do so in front of your country and that's what I did so I am absolutely grateful for that.

"It has been an absolute whirlwind season and I've had some really good fights and some ups and downs and it has all been boiling to this point."

James (R) with his bronze medal. Image: Getty

White effectively captured his country's 100th Winter Olympics gold when he nailed back-to-back 1440s (four full spins in consecutive tricks), cementing his status as the sport's most gifted practitioner.

James becomes the second Australian medallist of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics after Matt Graham won silver in the moguls.

It is Australia's 14th Winter Olympics medal; another podium finish in South Korea ensuring the team will at least match the three-medal performance of Sochi four years ago.

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