Snowboard Halfpipe

How Winter Olympics Snowboarding Halfpipe Scoring Works

Japan's Ayumu Hirano won gold in the controversial finish of the men's halfpipe final

On the heels of a controversial finish that took place in the men's halfpipe final at the Beijing Games, many are a little confused on how the scoring works in the snowboarding event.

Japan's Ayumu Hirano delivered a never before seen trick during his 2nd run, but Hirano only notched a 91.75 score that left him in 2nd place behind Australia's Scotty James who scored a 92.50 on his second run. Hirano, who won silver at the last two Olympics, would take it up a notch in his 3rd run, which included a double 1440, finishing with a score of 96.00 and walking away with gold.

Social media erupted in collective confusion after the 2nd run trying to make sense of how such a technical run didn't receive a higher score.

Here's all you need to know about halfpipe scoring:

How is halfpipe scored?

A snowboarder’s score is determined by a panel of six judges, who will rank the halfpipe run on a scale that goes up to 100. The lowest and highest scores from the judges are removed, and the remaining four scores are averaged together to give the athletes their score for that run.

The judges' criteria for the scores are based on different things, such as:

  • Amplitude: the height the riders reach during the runs.
  • Difficulty: The technicality of the tricks that are used in the runs.
  • Variety: A diverse mix of tricks.
  • Using the full pipe throughout the run.
  • Performing a combination of tricks and moves back-to-back.

To the average viewer, it seems Hirano checked all the boxes and more to earn a near perfect score, but to the judges it wasn't enough. In the 2018 PyeongChang Games, Hirano was the first snowboarder to land back-to-back double cork 1440s in the halfpipe run, which landed him a silver medal.

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Has anyone ever received a perfect score?

There have only been three perfect scores in the history of snowboarding halfpipe. Shaun White has two and Chloe Kim has one. White received the illustrious "perfect score" during the 2012 X Games and again during the 2018 Olympic Qualifiers.

White finished in fourth place in the final event of his snowboarding career at the Beijing Games.

Kim, who just won back-to-back golds, became the first woman to land back-to-back 1080s and scored a perfect 100 at the U.S. Grand Prix in 2016.

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