Snowboard star White misses medal, mild weather a worry

Tue Feb 11, 2014 3:27pm EST
 
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By Mike Collett-White

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - American snowboarder Shaun White, one of biggest draws at the Winter Olympics and favorite to win his third straight halfpipe title, bowed out without a medal on Tuesday in the biggest upset of the Games so far.

The 27-year-old was criticized for withdrawing from the slopestyle event to avoid risk of injury and the strategy backfired when Switzerland's Iouri Podladtchikov was comfortably the better jumper and twister in the floodlit final.

"I am disappointed," White said after the event. "I hate the fact that I nailed it in practice, but it happens. It's hard to be consistent."

The drama unfolded while the women ski jumpers fought it out for the first-ever Olympic medals, after campaigning for 13 years to be included alongside the men.

Germany's Carina Vogt collapsed in tears, then was mobbed by jubilant team mates, when her narrow win was confirmed following a tense wait at the bottom of the hill.

That brought to a close the fourth day of thrilling competition at the February 7-23 Games, with most of the action set among the peaks of the Caucasus Mountains.

Mild temperatures left many competitors complaining about poor snow conditions, and the number of tumbles across disciplines ranging from cross-country to freestyle skiing slopestyle appeared to back them up.

The final training session for Wednesday's women's downhill was canceled due to the conditions, and ahead of the Nordic Combined competition on the same day, American Bill Demong said of the snow: "It's not even slushy, it's just mushy."   Continued...

 
Shaun White of the U.S. reacts after the men's snowboard halfpipe final at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games, in Rosa Khutor February 11, 2014. REUTERS/Mike Blake