Greg Bretz, I-Pod advance out of halfpipe semifinal; Taylor Gold misses cut
As day turned into night, and the lights from above illuminated the halfpipe, the Olympic halfpipe field was narrowed down once again.
Earlier in the day, the qualifying round had trimmed the field down from 40 to 18. With six riders already advancing straight to tonight's final, the other 12 competitors were relegated to a semifinal round where only the top six would move on.
Iouri Podladtchikov, who barely made the cut in the qualifying round, came back to post an 87.50 on his first run - the top score of the semifinal.
Greg Bretz also put down a solid first run, scoring an 83.00, which held up for the second-best score.
Meanwhile the rest of the field struggled to land their tricks. Of the 11 riders that dropped in for the semifinal, only three would land a full run on the first try.
Things stepped up after that though. Australia's Kent Callister, Chinese riders Yiwei Zhang and Wancheng Shi and Slovokian Tim-Kevin Ravnjak all earned their way into the final with strong second runs.
One rider who did not make the cut - American Taylor Gold. He had a strong run going but touched down while landing the final trick of his run. The mistake was enough to keep Gold - who finished eighth - just outside of the cut-line.
Earlier in the day, the first six riders locked in their spots for the final. Shaun White posted the highest score of the day, Ayumu Hirano won his heat by boosting massive airs out of the halfpipe, and Danny Davis continued his streak of technical, stylish riding that has worked well for him recently. All three riders advanced straight to the final, along with Swiss riders Christian Haller and David Habluetzel, as well as Japan's Taku Hiraoka. Click here to check out the recap of the qualifying round.
Action resumes with the halfpipe final and Shaun White's quest for a three-peat, starting at 12:30pm ET on NBCOlympics.com. If White wins, he would be the first American male to win gold at three straight Winter Olympics.
Halfpipe semifinal results
1. Iouri Podladtchikov (SUI), 87.50
2. Greg Bretz (USA), 83.00
3. Kent Callister (AUS), 79.50
4. Yiwei Zhang (CHN), 79.25
5. Wancheng Shi (CHN), 78.50
6. Tim-Kevin Ravnjak (SLO), 75.50
8. Taylor Gold (USA), 60.75