Who is Ayumu Hirano?
Name: Ayumu Hirano
- 2014 Olympic halfpipe silver medalist
- 2-time X Games halfpipe medalist (1 gold, 1 silver)
Hirano won a silver medal for men's halfpipe in his Olympic debut at Sochi 2014. He was just 15 years old.
Hirano will enter PyeongChang with a strong shot at landing on the podium again, and victory is within the realm of possibility as well. Shaun White and Scotty James will likely be the top favorites, but Hirano won't be far behind.
At the Sochi Games in 2014, Hirano (then 15 years old) became the youngest snowboarder to win an Olympic medal and the youngest snowboarder to ever compete for Japan at the Winter Olympics.
When Hirano first burst onto the scene as a 14-year-old, the most impressive component of his runs was the amplitude being generated by such a small rider. That ability to boost out of the pipe, which nearly rivals the heights achieved by Shaun White, remains a staple of Hirano's riding. The first hit of his runs tends to be massive, and he has often used it to either showcase his remarkable style or to throw his most difficult trick. A strong technical snowboarder, Hirano was one of the first to land the cab double cork 1440, making him the full package for a halfpipe rider.
In January 2018, just weeks before the PyeongChang Olympics, Hirano became the first rider to ever land back-to-back double cork 1440s in a halfpipe competition. That combo helped earn him the X Games gold medal.
Because their father owns a surf shop and a skatepark, action sports were a natural part of life growing up for Hirano and his older brother, Eiju. When he was 4 years old, Hirano first tried snowboarding when he followed his brother to the mountain; within a few years, he was entering contests. Hirano started gaining attention when he placed 13th at the 2011 Burton U.S. Open as a 12-year-old. At 14, he made his X Games debut and won a silver medal.
Hirano has continued to be a podium contender in halfpipe. His best season came in 2015/16, when he had strong results at Dew Tour (2nd), the Laax Open (1st) and X Games Oslo (1st). The X Games victory was the first of his career.
2016/17 season recap
Hirano competed sparingly during the most recent season, with appearances at X Games (9th) and the Burton U.S. Open (7th). The contest season ended with him taking a brutal crash during one of his runs at the Burton Open.
Off the snow
Ever since he was young, Hirano has spent much time at the skatepark his father owns in their hometown of Murakami, Japan. Skating the vert ramp has provided a good form of cross-training, as many as the skills needed for vert skating, such as pumping to generate power out of the ramp, translate well to the halfpipe.