Olympic broadcaster rips halfpipe judges: 'They just grenaded all their credibility'

Japan's Ayumu Hirano won Olympic gold but not before some drama from the judges. (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)
Japan's Ayumu Hirano won Olympic gold but not before some drama from the judges. (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)

Japan’s Ayumu Hirano won gold in the men’s halfpipe at the Beijing Olympics, but what transpired was nothing short of controversial, as the 23-year-old was awarded a shockingly low score on his seemingly flawless second run.

Hirano earned gold for his third of three runs in the final round of competition, but many thought he sealed the deal with his second attempt. There, he completed a triple cork, followed by a 1440 in each of his next three moves. Hirano appeared to check all of the boxes: incredible air time, exquisite landings and overall arduous performance.

Hirano scored 91.75 and NBC’s Todd Richards, who is a pioneer in the snowboarding community, was seething. He condemned the judges, stating that they “just grenaded all their credibility,” and that the scoring was a “travesty.”

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“Uhhhhh, what?” a baffled Richards said after seeing Hirano’s score. “Is there a mistake? How did that — wait a minute. There's no way. There is nooo way! A 91.75?”

After a short commercial break, Richards continued his tirade.

“As far as I'm concerned, the judges just grenaded all their credibility,” Richards lamented. “That run — I've been doing this for so long. Soooo long. I know what a good run looks like.

“I know the ingredients of a winning run. I know when I see the best run that's ever been done in a halfpipe. Try to tell me where you're deducting from this run. It's unbelievable that this is even happening. It's a travesty to be completely honest with you. I am irate right now.”

Hirano put the scoring debacle to bed with his third run of the finals. He scored a 96, placing him well above Australia’s Scotty James and his previous competition high of 92.50.

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Richards ceremoniously dubbed Hirano the new king and was pleased to see justice had been served.

“Justice. That run is the heaviest run that has has ever been done in a halfpipe. I will say that. It will echo through social media for the next however long. Ayumu Hirano. The G, the new king.”

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