Winter Olympics Sochi 2014

Winter Olympics Sochi 2014

Follow All The Winter Olympics Action Feb. 6-24 on NBC

Shaun White Drops Sochi Slopestyle 1 Day Before Competition

White will now focus solely on defending his halfpipe title

By Emily Feldman
|  Wednesday, Feb 5, 2014  |  Updated 11:11 AM CDT
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A pre-Olympic practice injury gave Shaun White second thoughts about the Slopestyle course in Sochi. White pulled out of competition because he says the course is too dangerous.

AP

A pre-Olympic practice injury gave Shaun White second thoughts about the Slopestyle course in Sochi. White pulled out of competition because he says the course is too dangerous.

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Snowboarding superstar Shaun White will no longer compete for two golds at the Sochi Games.

Less than a day before the first slopestyle competition, White told NBC News that he is pulling out of the event.

"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," he said in a statement Wednesday." The difficult decision to forego slopestyle is not one I take lightly as I know how much effort everyone has put into holding the slopestyle event for the first time in Olympic history, a history I had planned on being a part of."

His announcement comes as his teammates and competitors prepare for the first slopestyle competition of the Winter Games--one of the few qualification events scheduled before Friday's Opening Ceremony. It also comes a day after White jammed his left wrist during a test run at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park. 

In an interview with The Associated Press, White described the course as "a little intimidating" but added that he didn't expect the minor injury to slow him down.

White was not the only snowboarder to get injured on the slopestyle course or comment on its difficulty. Norweigan favorite Torstein Horgmo broke his collar bone on the same course earlier in the week, ending his Olympic chance. The following day, Finnish snowboarder Marika Enne hit her head on a rail during practice, resulting in a concussion.

Without White, the U.S. men's slopestyle team will be down to three Olympic rookies--Ryan Stassel, Chas Guldemond and Sage Kotsenburg--who will face steep competition from Canada's Max Parrot and Mark McMorris.

This year is the first year slopestyle--a downhill course with pipes, rails and jumps--will be included in the Winter Games. The competition begins Thursday morning in Sochi.

Halfpipe, which White is favored to win, begins Feb. 11.

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