White scores a 94.25 for his first run during the men's snowboarding halfpipe.
Perhaps that's why White broke down after seeing his score, the 97.75, come in after his final run. The Flying Tomato threw his board in the air when his winning score flashed, setting off a delirious celebration. Australia's Scotty James (92.00) was second, followed by American Chase Josey (87.75).
Pre-Olympics favorites including two-time gold medalist Shaun White qualified for the men's snowboard halfpipe final in a high-scoring, high-flying contest on Tuesday. Speedskater Bonnie Blair won gold in the 1988, 1992 and 1994 Games.
It was flawless. He started his run with a 1440 and then went straight into a double 1080.
Women's soccer player Kelly O'Hara, a World Cup and Olympic victor was clearly moved by White's celebratory tears.
White, 31, triumphed in 2006 and 2010 and after a long wait for his score on Wednesday he roared with emotion, punching the air as his superstar status - briefly undermined when he failed in Sochi four years ago - was set in stone.
If you doubted for one second how much missing the podium in Sochi meant to White and how important redemption was to him, his tearful reaction was enough to prove you wrong.
"Ayumo put down an awesome run, and I knew I had to step it up", White told the BBC.
That forced White to up the ante.
"I am really thankful for those guys, because honestly, they pushed me to get to this point, to do these kind of runs".
That created a pressure situation for White on his third attempt. So, honestly, I'm just so happy with my performance.
White said it had been an agonising wait for his score from the judges to come through, as he pipped Hirano to the title to make United States history. I had this insane injury in New Zealand (in October) where I busted my face open. "I'm proud of the other riders for pushing me this whole time".
The 17-year-olds Chloe Kim and Red Gerard, and fellow American Jamie Anderson, have all won in Pyeongchang, where competitors have struggled with blustery winds.