Two-time Olympic gold medalist Shaun White won't be competing in the new slopestyle event at the Sochi Winter Olympics, which starts later this week. He wants to focus on the half-pipe, instead.
Earlier this week, White injured his wrist during a practice run on the slopestyle course. He says it’s fine, but the same can’t be said for the slopestyle course. It’s already knocked Norway’s Torstein Horgmo out of Olympic competition. He broke his collarbone. And it also knocked out a Finnish snowboarder, Marika Enne who crashed on the final jump. She was carted off in a stretcher, reportedly with a concussion.
The course, it seems, is almost too epic. And the jumps are, seemingly, too big. Canada’s Sebastien Toutant said going off the jumps feels like falling out of a building. And Great Britain’s Billy Morgan said the jumps are a little scary. Remember, these are guys who huck triple backflips off of some pretty insane jumps as part of their daily lives. So to admit fear really says something about the course.
Now, it seems, the risk just isn't worth it for White, who was expected to challenge for a medal in slopestyle snowboarding's debut year.
In a statement White gave NBC’s Today show, he said:
"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.”
Watching the video, you understand where he’s coming from.