Shaun White, Louie Vito safely through to halfpipe finals |

Shaun White, Louie Vito safely through to halfpipe finals

Shaun White of the USA, right, sign autographs on his arrival at Cypress Mountain snowboard venue to compete in the men's halfpipe at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2010. (AP Photo/Odd Andersen)

WEST VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Americans Shaun White and Louie Vito and Ryo Aono of Japan have advanced to the final of the Olympic men’s halfpipe contest.

White, the defending Olympic champion, scored a 45.8 on his first of two runs Wednesday to secure his spot.

He made it through without using his patented Double McTwist 1260 trick – two flips with three-and-a-half spins – but said he’ll bring that out in the final later Wednesday.

Vito hit his backside on the edge of the pipe on his first qualifying run but nailed the second one for a score of 41.8.

Three more riders will advance after a second qualifying heats that includes contenders Kazuhiro Kokubo of Japan and the “I-Pod,” Iouri Podladtchikov (eye-OOR’-ee POHD’-lih-kohv) of Switzerland.

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