Snowboarders trash Shaun White after dropping slopestyle event

US snowboarder Shaun White waves during a press conference at Gorky Media Center the Rosa Khutor...

US snowboarder Shaun White waves during a press conference at Gorky Media Center the Rosa Khutor Alpine Centre on February 5, 2014. White admitted on February 3 that Sochi's daunting slopestyle course which has already claimed two injury victims presented an "intimidating" challenge. AFP PHOTO / ALBERTO PIZZOLI

Julien Pretot, Reuters

, Last Updated: 10:49 AM ET

Snowboarding star Shaun White pulled out of the slopestyle event at the Sochi Olympics on Wednesday due to concerns that the course is too dangerous.

The Olympic champion's concerns were not shared by fellow snowboarders, such as Canadian Sebastien Toutant and Maxence Parrot who took jabs at White on Twitter.

 

 

"Mr. White... It's easy to find excuses to pull out of a contest when you think you can't win," Toutant tweeted Wednesday morning.

Parrot chimed in, tweeting, "Shaun knows he won't be able to win the slopes, thats why he pulled out. He's scared!"

White, one of the biggest drawcards of the winter Games, said in a statement carried by NBC on Wednesday that he did not want to risk his chances of winning a third halfpipe gold medal.

White's decision comes after Norwegian Torstein Horgmo, a triple X Games gold medallist in Big Air, broke his collarbone in a crash on Monday and will miss the Games.

White also hurt his wrist on Tuesday after falling on a course he had earlier described as "intimidating".

"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," said White.

After securing the halfpipe titles in 2006 and 2010, White was looking to add the slopestyle gold to his tally as the event makes its Olympic debut in Sochi.

The slopestyle events start at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park with qualifying runs on Thursday.

U.S. Snowboarding & Free Skiing director Jeremy Forster said he understood the decision.

"Shaun is the consummate professional and has made a sound athletic decision," he said.

"We anticipate an outstanding slopestyle debut on Saturday, but also respect the importance to Shaun to keep his focus on winning a third halfpipe gold."

Several athletes have spoken out about the risks posed by the course, despite changes being made.

"The big jumps are very big, especially for the girls," Russia's Sarka Pancochova told reporters on Wednesday. "We are very little, we have 30kg difference to the guys. It's hard to get the speed you need."

The 27-year-old White will now start his Sochi campaign on Tuesday with halfpipe qualifying.

The opening ceremony for the Games is on Friday.


Videos

Photos