IPod squishes Flying Tomato

Congleton Guardian: Iouri Podladtchikov celebrates on the podium after winning gold (AP) Iouri Podladtchikov celebrates on the podium after winning gold (AP)

Shaun White's bid for a hat-trick of Winter Olympics snowboard halfpipe titles ended in failure as eccentric Swiss Iouri Podladtchikov took the gold medal in Sochi.

The American, nicknamed The Flying Tomato, was the red-hot favourite to add another crown to the ones he won at Turin 2006 and Vancouver four years later, but the 27-year-old could only finish fourth.

Instead it was crowd favourite Podladtchikov, aka IPod, who took the glory, with Japanese 15-year-old prodigy Ayumu Hirano earning silver and his compatriot Taku Hiraoka bronze.

White had put down a score of 95.75 in the qualifiers to move straight into the showpiece event, but could not replicate that, and an error-strewn final run saw him awarded 90.25, which was not enough to claim even a podium spot.

"I'm disappointed," he said. "I hate the fact that I nailed it in practice, but it happens. It's hard to be consistent."

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