Shaun White, Amid Bolder Tricks and Bigger Risks, Wins Gold

“It’s just the evolution of the sport,” White said.

But in pushing the envelope, the athletes are also pushing their own luck.

Conspicuously absent from the competition was the 2014 Olympic champion Iouri Podladtchikov, who withdrew last week because of the lingering effects of a head injury that he sustained during a fall at last month’s Winter X Games in Colorado. Podladtchikov, 29, participated in one practice at Phoenix Snow Park before releasing a statement saying it was “in no way safe or responsible” for him to compete. On Twitter, Podladtchikov wrote, “Unfortunately, my brain needs time to recover from the bruises and I will not be able to compete.”

A gloom fell over the halfpipe early in the second run when 16-year-old Yuto Totsuka, the youngest finalist, ricocheted off the wall on his second trick and spun out. He was tended to by paramedics, who immobilized him on a sled and carted him off the course.

The day before the men’s final, the 17-year-old American Chloe Kim performed two 1080s — as White had 12 years before — on her way to the gold in the women’s halfpipe. During her runs, Kim’s family members watched anxiously from the bottom of the hill. Asked which trick made her the most

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