Shaun White withdrew from the Olympic snowboard slopestyle debut one day before the competition, fearful that he might be injured. He probably took notes from Norway's Torstein Horgmo, who broke a collarbone in a training crash at the start of the Games. "The potential risk of injury is a bit too much for me to gamble my other Olympic goals on," White said.
If you ask the International Olympic Committee, he made the right choice. In an interview with the Associated Press last week, IOC representative Lars Engebretsen said that the sport—which involves both skiers and snowboarders jumping, flipping, and twisting above obstacles—produced an "unacceptably high" number of injuries at the Sochi Winter Games.
Engebretsen, head of scientific activities at the IOC's medical and scientific department, also stated that he would like to see the event removed from future Olympic competition.
"I can say what I feel: That sport should change, otherwise we shouldn't have it. But the IOC may not follow that," he told the AP.
An International Ski Federation official said the IOC's reports of high injury rates are premature. FIS secretary general Sarah Lewis told NBCSports.com that Engebretson's statements regarding the event's safety were personal comments that do not represent the position of the IOC.
"It would be premature to comment on the quantity and quality of injuries that occurred as the full IOC Injury and Illness Surveillance Study conducted by the IOC Medical Commission has not yet been finalized," she said.