Did The Flying Tomato Just Chicken Out?

Shaun White drops out of slopestyle event

Shaun White announced Wednesday that he will drop out of the first-ever Olympic slopestyle event in order to focus on winning gold in the halfpipe.

From his press statement:

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. 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 part of.

The announcement comes after White jammed his wrist during practice Tuesday, making him one of three snowboarders so far to be injured on the Sochi slopestyle course.  In an interview with ESPN, White called the course “a little intimidating.”

The opening qualifier for slopestyle is scheduled to be held Thursday. Because White’s announcement came so late, the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association won’t be able to send an alternate in his place, according to the statement.

Competing for Team USA in men’s slopestyle will be Chas Guldemond, Sage Kotsenburg and Ryan Stassel. Jamie Anderson, Jessika Jensen, Karly Shorr and Ty Walker will compete in the women’s event.