White has no regrets at missing slopestyle

Sat Feb 8, 2014 6:51am EST
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SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - An unrepentant Shaun White said he had no regrets about pulling out of the inaugural slopestyle snowboarding event at the Sochi Olympics despite being labelled a coward then seeing his American team mate Sage Kotsenburg win the gold medal.

White was embroiled in a social media storm after he denounced the slopestyle course as dangerous and withdrew from the slopestyle to focus on the defence of his halfpipe title, which he won at the previous two Winter Olympics.

Several of White's competitors took to Facebook and Twitter to poke fun at him for quitting the daredevil event, suggesting that he only threw in the towel because he was scared of losing.

"I'm really happy with my decision," the Californian told reporters after training at the halfpipe on Saturday.

"I have bumps and bruises over the course of the season that I haven't had before."

While White was rehearsing some of the moves he hopes will land him a third successive gold medal in the halfpipe, his countryman Kotsenburg won the slopestyle gold with a fearless run down the intimidating obstacle course.

White is the overwhelming favourite to win the halfpipe but knows the pressure on him to succeed will only intensify after he quit the slopestyle, one of the new and contemporary events on the Olympic programme.

"I feel pressure all the time. I'm trying not to think about it too much," he said.

"It's not more pressure than I put on myself. I expect the best out of myself, always."   Continued...

U.S. snowboarder Shaun White speeds down the hill during snowboard slopestyle training at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in Rosa Khutor, February 3, 2014. REUTERS/Mike Blake