KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia -- It turns out winning three gold medals was nothing more than a halfpipe dream for Shaun White.

America's crossover star and the rest of the U.S. team crashed landed Tuesday night in a sport they once dominated, failing to win a medal in the Olympics snowboard halfpipe for the first time.

In a stunning turn of events at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, Russian-born Swiss rider Iouri Podladtchikov, the man they call I-Pod, put down a gold-medal performance on his second run to overcome Japan's Ayumu Hirano and Taku Hiraoka. Hirano, 15, won the silver and Hiraoka the bronze.

White, formerly known as The Flying Tomato for his long, flowing red hair, sounded like a man dealing with the acceptance of defeat afterward. "Tonight doesn't make or break my career," he said. "I'm happy to take this forward for what it is."

White, the last rider of the night, finished fourth with a second run that lacked his usual edge and flair, and seemed to be scored generously high by the six judges.

"Fourth was a gift," said U.S. teammate Danny Davis, who was 10th. "First of all, it's good for snowboarding" that White lost. "Now everybody knows there are other good riders in the world."

At least for one big night, none of them were Americans. The United States had won eight of 12 medals in Olympic snowboarding since the halfpipe event made its debut in 1998 at the Nagano Games. Americans also had won seven of the last nine medals.

But the four U.S. riders entered Tuesday struggled with the controversial pipe that took crews working all night to have it ready for the competition.

In the final, Greg Bretz, of Mammoth Lakes, and Davis, of Truckee, fell on both of their runs while White took a hard fall into the pipe's lip on his first attempt.

"We let America down," said Davis. "Sorry, America. Iouri shined bright."

USA’s Shaun White competes his run during qualifying for Men’s Halfpipe at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park for the 2014 Winter Olympics in
USA's Shaun White competes his run during qualifying for Men's Halfpipe at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

On Monday, many of the riders complained about the inadequacies of the halfpipe, calling it substandard for Olympic competition. The qualification round was postponed for an hour so workers could make some final touches.

"It's still not awesome, but at least it's ridable," said American Taylor Gold, who failed to reach the final.

White, at 27 the oldest rider in the final, wondered if he could land a run when waking up Tuesday. But he wouldn't blame conditions for the rare defeat.

"Everybody was riding in the same conditions," said White, who uses Northstar at Tahoe as his training base. "I knew it gave a lot of people a hard time."

Five of the 12 finalists fell on their first run.

The biggest fall, though, involved one of history's greatest action sports athletes.

He owns 15 X Games gold medals in snowboarding and skateboarding and entered the Sochi Games as the most recognizable American.

It has been a tough start for the U.S. athletes. Bodie Miller, the country's best-known alpine skier, bombed out in the downhill this week. Star skier Lindsey Vonn couldn't even make it to Sochi while recovering from a serious knee injury.

After the team figure skating competition, it's doubtful Americans other than ice dancers Meryl White and Charlie Davis will earn any medals.

Americans -- and particularly NBC Sports -- had pinned their hopes on a surfer/snowboarder/skateboard from Carlsbad.

First, White dropped out of the new slopestyle snowboard event in what he called a calculated risk to focus on trying to become the first American man to win a Winter Olympics event three consecutive times.

Then came the less-than-satisfactory performance Tuesday on a cool night in the mountains. It didn't start out that way, with White posting the highest score in qualifications and Davis finishing in third.

But neither American could duplicate the magic in the final.

White asked that those shaping his narrative remember he is more than a snowboarder. But he also tried to twist it the way he spins a snowboard when punching off an icy lip.

"I went for it," White said. "I went for big tricks that only Iouri and I are doing."

USA’s Shaun White competes his run during qualifying for Men’s Halfpipe at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park for the 2014 Winter Olympics in
USA's Shaun White competes his run during qualifying for Men's Halfpipe at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

Podladtchikov, 25, felt conflicted about what happened because he is one White's best friends in the sport. While few can deny the two have helped push halfpipe's upper limits, some competitors resent the fact White gets the lion's share of attention.

"I don't like seeing him fall," Podladtchikov said. "With Shaun, I always want to see how he is doing his stuff, because he's going for it. Everyone is like, 'I'm gonna do it a little cleaner and a little bigger and it'll do.' But no, it's not gonna do and thank God, it doesn't do it for him."

Podladtchikov admitted it felt strange to dethrone the king.

"At the X Games I was feeling so close to winning," he said of finishing second twice. "It was mine, but I didn't win."

White always was just a little bit better than the Swiss rider.

"He deserves a big win like this," White said.

Now history's best snowboarder plans to take a break from the competitive stage to join his band Bad Things on the performing stage.

"I know where to go from here," White said.

A band on the run.

Contact Elliott Almond at 408-920-5865. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/elliottalmond.