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Last Updated: Sunday, 12 February 2006, 14:05 GMT
Supreme White wins half-pipe gold
Shaun White celebrates his victory in Italy
White just failed to qualify for the 2002 Games aged 15
Overwhelming favourite Shaun White claimed his first Olympic title with a peerless performance in the men's snowboard half-pipe in Italy.

The 19-year-old Californian, who is also a professional skateboarder, was awarded 46.8 points to take gold.

Fellow American Danny Kass on 44 took silver, 2.5 points ahead of Finn Markku Koski who claimed bronze.

Britain's Dan Wakeham failed to make the final after finishing 26th from two qualifying runs.

The 24-year-old from Plymouth was in 35th spot after round one of his Olympic debut, with a score of 14.3, and moved up after being awarded 27.8 in the second.

White, nicknamed the 'Flying Tomato' because of his red hair, had a scare in the opening run after missing out on the first six qualification spots when he fell.

But the American comfortably qualified for the final with a second blistering effort and there were no more mistakes.

I didn't know if I would win gold - I just knew I wanted it
Olympic champion Shaun White

White's fourth and final run was a formality after Koski, the penultimate boarder down the pipe, fell on his last jump.

The American teenager, wearing a stars-and-stripes bandanna across his face, threw his fists in the air, waved to the crowd and then made a few high jumps before sliding down the pipe to greet the waiting fans.

None of his opponents came anywhere near his points total from the third run, where the American landed back-to-back 1080s.

"I didn't know if I would win gold," said White.

"I just knew I wanted it. This is the best year of my life. I know I won't have this again. It's amazing.

"I barely made the final so I knew I had to do my best run. Then on the final run, I started to have some fun."


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