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Bolder Tricks on the Halfpipe Bring Bigger Risks, Too

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — Shaun White’s train of thought was briefly derailed on Tuesday by the music blaring at Phoenix Snow Park. The song was “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” and the lyrics seemed fitting: “No wind, no rain, nor winter’s cold can stop me, baby … ”

White, the 31-year-old American snowboarder, had just produced two near-perfect halfpipe runs and finished first in qualifying for Wednesday’s medal round. Among the 12 finalists was the 19-year-old Ayumu Hirano of Japan, who last month became the first snowboarder to land back-to-back 1440s, four revolutions each, in competition. In 2006, when White was Hirano’s age, he won the first of his two Olympic titles with a run that included two 1080s.