The master of the Olympic halfpipe and most awarded snowboarder in history won’t compete in the inaugural slopestyle competition in Sochi.
Shaun White announced on his Facebook page today that he will not compete in the Slopestyle event and will focus only on the halfpipe, an Olympic event he has won twice and is considered a favorite for a third gold medal.
The announcement comes a day after White was injured in a training run on the Slopestyle course that he called “intimidating” in a report by the Associated Press.
“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 reported on his facebook page. “I know my fans will have my back on this difficult decision. Thanks for the continued support.”
According to the report, the Sochi slopestyle course has already injured one of the favorites of the events, Torstein Horgmo of Norway, who broke a collarbone while riding through the rails Monday. On Tuesday, shortly after White’s minor injury, Marika Enne of Finland fell hard and hit her head at the end of her run. She was taken off the course on a stretcher with a concussion
The course has been criticized by many snowboarders, who say changes need to be made to improve safety of the run.
In a statement released on the “Today” show, White said he is feeling healthy and that his minor injury was “overblown.”
“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 part of,” White said the statement.