After a tumultuous week on the Sochi slopestyle course, one of the Olympics' biggest stars has dropped the event altogether. The news hit this morning as the Today show's Matt Lauer opened the program with Shaun White’s surprising decision.
White confirmed the news with a post on his Facebook page.
“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. I know my fans will have my back on this difficult decision. Thanks for the continued support.”
White and several other slopestyle riders were injured during training runs this week and have expressed concerns about the course. “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,” explained White.
The Olympic debut of the snowboard slopestyle event will begin with qualifying rounds on February 6.
Canada’s Sebastien Toutant, a slopestyle medal favorite, didn’t take long to share his opinion.
Mr. White... It's easy to find excuses to pull out of a contest when you think you can't win...— Sebastien Toutant (@SebToots) February 5, 2014