Todd Richards, an NBC announcer covering the Olympics, was absolutely shocked when snowboard judges almost didn’t give Japanese snowboarder Ayumu Hirano the gold medal on Friday. Performing two impressive runs after his first attempt, Hirano was given a low score on his second run, much to the dismay of audiences.

During his second run, the 23-year-old landed a triple cork – which many believe is the hardest trick in halfpipe snowboarding – for the first time in Olympic history.

Immediately after landing it, NBC’s Todd Richards told viewers at home that it “was over” and no one left in the competition could “touch that run.”

“That is going to be a 98,” he said, trying to predict the score. Even though many snowboarders still had a third run to complete, he, and many snowboard fans, believed that Ayumu Hirano would hold onto first the rest of the competition after that run.

However, the judges seemingly did not agree, giving Hirano a 91.75, placing him in second place behind Scotty James of Australia.

“Uhhhh. What?” Richards questioned when the score was put up on the screen. “Is there a mistake? How did that… wait a minute. There’s no way. There is no way! A 91.75?”

The NBC announcer was a former snowboarder himself, having competed in the Olympic halfpipe back in 1998.

NBC's Todd Richards, an Olympic announcer and former snowboarder who competed in 1998
NBC’s Todd Richards, an Olympic announcer and former snowboarder who competed in 1998. Photo Credit: NBC

“As far as I’m concerned, the judges just grenaded all their credibility,” Richards said, shocked at their decision. “That run — I’ve been doing this for so long. So long. I know what a good run looks like… I know the ingredients of a winning run. I know when I see the best run that’s ever been done in a halfpipe.”

“Try to tell me where you’re deducting from this run,” Richards continued. “It’s unbelievable that this is even happening. It’s a travesty to be completely honest with you. I am irate right now.”

It was later revealed that Canada and Switzerland both gave Hirano a score of 90, while an American judge’s score of 89 got thrown out.

“All we’ve been talking about is the triple,” Todd Richards told viewers when the show came back from commercial. “It’s the next level. It takes the most commitment of any trick. And it wasn’t like he just did a triple. He combo’d that into incredible tricks.”

“I’m still in shock that that wasn’t rewarded,” he continued. “What is the point of doing the triple cork — the most dangerous of dangerous tricks — if you’re not gonna get rewarded for it? Never did I think there would be controversy like this in halfpipe snowboarding.”

Many outraged viewers online agreed with the NBC announcer, posting the opinion that Hirano had one of the greatest runs in Olympics history.

“That is quite possibly the worst judging I’ve ever seen,” tweeted 2018 bronze medalist Arielle Gold.

Luckily, Ayumu Hirano pulled off another stellar run on his third and final attempt, getting a score of 96 and securing the Olympic gold medal.

As Ayumu dropped into the halfpipe for round three, Richards yelled: “give it to them, Ayumu!”

“I wasn’t convinced by the scoring on my second run, but I think I was able to express that anger well” on the third, Hirano told reporters after the run. “No one is doing a routine with the triple cork, and the difficulty level was pretty high, and so I did think it was a little odd. I think that emotion made me focus even better than usual.”

Shaun White, the celebrated Olympic snowboarder, came in fourth in the competition, later announcing that this would be his final Winter Games.