Olympic snowboarder Shaun White withdraws from slopestyle competition

Feb. 5, 2014 at 8:50 AM
| License Photo

SOCHI, Russia, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- Citing the risk of injury, U.S. snowboarder Shaun White said he was withdrawing from the slopestyle competition at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

"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 told NBC News' "Today" Wednesday in a statement. "The difficult decision to forgo slopestyle is not one I take lightly as I know how much effort everyone has put into holding the slopestyle event for the first time in Olympic history, a history I had planned on being a part of."

White's announcement follows a fall he took Tuesday, jamming his left wrist on a practice run on the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park course.

"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.

While danger is inherent in an extreme snow sport such as slopestyle -- in which competitors are judged on a variety of tricks performed on rails, boxes and jumps -- White and other snowboarders have expressed concerns about the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, NBC News said. Criticism grew after Torstein Horgmo of Norway, considered a medal contender, fell off a rail Monday and broke his collarbone, knocking him out of the Sochi Games.

Canada's Sebastian Toutant said maneuvering the course felt like "jumping out of a building" while Finland's Roope Tonteri called the course "pretty sketchy," NBC News said.

"I just don't want to get injured," Tonteri said. "It's not a really fun course to ride."

Changes were made to the course -- including reducing the combined height of its three jumps about 6 feet -- after the Olympians' feedback, NBC News said. Snowboarders said the changes were an improvement.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more news from UPI.com
Related UPI Stories
share with facebook
share with twitter
Trending Stories