Breaking news! After all the hype, all the double gold speculation, all the training and qualification, we won’t actually be seeing Shaun White take to the slopestyle course at this year’s Olympics!
On The Today Show (of all places…) Shaun announced in a statement today that he won’t be competing in both disciplines – choosing instead to focus his efforts on his preferred discipline of halfpipe. Here’s what he had to say:
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. I know my fans will have my back on this difficult decision. Thanks for the continued support.
We’ve already seen Shaun criticising the slopestyle course this week, and although many other riders have expressed their concern, it’s a little disappointing to hear that he won’t be starting at all. With Torstein’s fractured collar bone and Marika Enne’s concussion proving that injury is definitely a possibility on this course, it’s clear to see that this is a safe move from the US Olympic team.
White has apparently been having such a tough time on the course during practice that the risks of injury were simply becoming too great:
With the practice runs I have taken, even after course modifications and watch fellow athletes get hurt, the potential risk of injury is a bit too much for me to gamble my other Olympics goals on.
Of course – he will still have the halfpipe spectacle to show the world what’s been going down in the world of El Blanco – with the potential for a triple-cork and a promising group of challengers hot at his heels…
Many have been quick to criticize Shuan’s decision and if we’re being honest, we can kind of see where they’re coming from. Here are couple of tweets from fellow slopestyle riders Max Parrot and Seb Toots:
We just hope that another American rider will be able to fly out to Sochi and take Shaun’s place. Whatever your opinion on Shaun’s decision to pull out of slopestyle, his new unwavered focus on Tuesday’s halfpipe will be a force to be reckoned with.