Shaun White Drops Out Of Slopestyle Event In Sochi; Will Compete In Halfpipe
Shaun White will not be competing in the new slopestyle competition at the Sochi Winter Olympics, choosing instead to focus on the halfpipe, he announced Wednesday, Feb. 5.
Shaun White Will Not Compete In Sochi Slopestyle Event
White is a halfpipe pro, having won two Gold Medals in the event, one each at the Winter Olympics in 2006 and 2010. He will still be competing in the halfpipe event, aiming to take home his third consecutive Gold Medal. However, many fans were looking forward to seeing White compete in the slopestyle event, which has never before been incorporated into the Olympic games. White was a favorite to win the Gold in slopestyle, as he has won many times before in the Winter X Games.
“After much deliberation with my team, I have made the decision to focus solely on trying to bring home the third straight gold medal in halfpipe for Team USA,” White said in his statement announcing his decision.
White injured his wrist during a practice run on the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park course, where the slopestyle event is set up, on Tuesday when he jammed it on the course, but he says that he is not pulling out of the event due to injury. Rather, the risk of injury is too great.
“With the practice runs I have taken, even after course modifications and watching fellow athletes get hurt, the potential risk of injury is a bit too much for me to gamble my other Olympics goals on,” White said in a statement.
Slopestyle Course Causes Concern
The slopestyle event is set to begin qualifiers tomorrow, Thursday, Feb. 6, before the halfpipe. White also says that he is sad to be missing out on this historic Olympic event. However, should he take home the Gold in halfpipe, he will make Olympic history as the first American male to win three Gold medals in the same event.
Many of White’s fellow snowboarders have expressed concerns about the Olympic slopestyle course. Roope Tonteri of Finland told reporters, “I just don’t want to get injured. It’s not a really fun course to ride.”
Furthermore, due to concerns and feedback from athletes after practice runs, Olympic officials made a few changes to the slopestyle course, mainly reducing jumps. Athletes seem positive about the changes, but some female athletes remain worried about the course.
“The big jumps are very big, especially for the girls… We are very little, we have 30kg difference to the guys. It’s hard to get the speed you need. It’s just a game, we have to figure it out,” says Sarka Panochova of the Czech Republic.
The Sochi Olympics opening ceremony will take place Friday, Feb. 7 and will air with delay on NBC at 5:30 p.m.
– Olivia Truffaut-Wong
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