Shaun White's reaction to winning the gold medal tells you everything you need to know about how badly he wanted it.
After a disappointing finish in Sochi four years ago, White found his redemption with a big first run and a spectacular final run that put him atop the podium. In the Team USA history book, his three gold medals put him second to short track speedskater Bonnie Blair and long track speedskater Eric Heiden, who holds the record with five apiece. Norway now leads the all-time list with 121 golds, ahead of the USA (100) and Germany (92).
But James' score was quickly eclipsed by White, who was the next rider to drop.
Japans Hirano had to settle for a second silver in a row and James, a two-time world champion, saw his victory hopes dashed as he fell on his final effort.More news: Notre Dame's appeal denied; NCAA upholds decision to vacate 21 football wins
"Ayumo put down an wonderful run, and I knew I had to step it up", White told the BBC.
"I looked down the mountain and said to myself, "you know you've got this, it's what you've done your whole life, stay with the moment and you will win the Olympics".
While training for Pyeongchang in New Zealand in October, White crashed on the lip of the halfpipe and suffered serious facial injuries which required 62 stitches.
That created a pressure situation for White on his third attempt. "It's wonderful. He's legendary".More news: Beware of Valentine's Day scams
After 17-year-old Red Gerard surprisingly took the men's slopestyle on the first day of competition, Jamie Anderson won the women's slopestyle, while Chloe Kim dominated the women's halfpipe.
Team USA entered the PyeongChang Olympics with 96 gold medals in winter competition.
The youngest American athlete to win a gold medal in a Winter Olympics was figure skater Tara Lipinski, who was 15 years (and 255 days) old when she won in 1988 in Nagano.
During a brief change of focus in White's victorious press conference he was forced to confront previous allegations of sexual harassment by the former drummer of his band "Bad Things".More news: Russia Threatens to Block YouTube and Instagram, After Complaints From an Oligarch