CARDONA, NEW ZEALAND – Yuto Totsuka won the men’s halfpipe in snowboard’s World Cup series Friday, while compatriot and 2014 Sochi Olympic silver medalist Ayumu Hirano finished runner-up.
The 15-year-old Totsuka, winner of the Japan national championships in March making his debut in the World Cup, scored 93.25 points in the 16-man final, after the semifinals were canceled due to poor weather conditions. Hirano finished one point behind and Switzerland’s Patrick Burgener was third with 88.50.
“I’m really happy to win at my first World Cup,” Totsuka said after the season’s first halfpipe contest on the circuit.
“This will boost my confidence for World Cup events to follow. I will do my best to get good results and hope to take part in next year’s Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.”
In the women’s competition, Americans swept the podium, with Chloe Kim winning her fourth overall World Cup event, followed by three-time Olympic medalist Kelly Clark in second and Maddie Mastro in third. Hikaru Oe placed fifth.