A few weeks after professional snowboarder Shaun White bowed out of the Winter X-Games Halfpipe competition to focus solely on the Olympics, he has now opted out of the Olympic’s very first Slopestyle contest.
White announced earlier today that he will now only compete in the halfpipe event, which he’s gotten gold in twice already, due to the unsafe nature of the slopestyle course.
White jammed his wrist during practice, and despite it being a minor injury, he watched fellow world-renowned boarders and skiers take tumbles over the last few days. According to a report by today.com, Torstein Horgmo, a rider from Norway, fell off a rail and broke his collarbone, forcing him to cut his Olympic appearance short just days before the opening ceremony.
"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 announced during a press conference.
This year will be Slopestyle’s first appearance in the Winter Olympics, but it just doesn’t seem right that one of the most famous snowboarders in the world will not be participating. Slopestyle is a downhill course filled with rails, jumps and other objects that athletes spin, grind and flip off of and are judged on their performance.
Athletes have expressed their concerns with the sketchiness of the course and as a result all three of the jumps have been lowered by six feet and the rails have been waxed so they aren’t so slippery.
“I just don’t want to get injured,” Finland’s Roope Tonteri told Today.com. “It’s not a really fun course to ride.”
Hopefully the changes to the course allow for a safer ride for the competitors, as the qualifying runs begin tomorrow.