White pulls out of 'too-risky' slopestyle

Wed Feb 5, 2014 11:32am EST
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By Julien Pretot

ROSA KHUTOR, Russia (Reuters) - Snowboarding star Shaun White pulled out of the slopestyle event at the Sochi Olympics on Wednesday due to concerns that the course is too dangerous.

Double halfpipe Olympic champion White, one of the biggest drawcards of the winter Games, said in a statement carried by NBC on Wednesday that he did not want to risk his chances of winning a third halfpipe gold medal.

White's decision comes after Norwegian Torstein Horgmo, a triple X Games gold medalist in Big Air, broke his collarbone in a crash on Monday and will miss the Games.

White also hurt his wrist on Tuesday after falling on a course he had earlier described as "intimidating".

"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," said White.

After securing the halfpipe titles in 2006 and 2010, White was looking to add the slopestyle gold to his tally as the event makes its Olympic debut in Sochi.

The slopestyle events start at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park with qualifying runs on Thursday.

U.S. Snowboarding & Free Skiing director Jeremy Forster said he understood the decision.   Continued...

U.S. snowboarder Shaun White waits in line during a breakdown of the chairlift at snowboard slopestyle training for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in Rosa Khutor, February 3, 2014. REUTERS/Mike Blake