What Happened to Fearless Shaun White?

Feb 5, 2014 11:36am

Olympic gold medal snowboarder Shaun White dropped a bombshell this morning, just two days ahead of the start of Olympic competition, by dropping out of the brand new slopestyle snowboarding event at the Sochi games.

“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,” White said in a statement to the “Today” show.

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Shaun White of the United States practices during training for Snowboard Slopestyle, Feb. 3, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

White had been practicing on the slopestyle course Tuesday when he injured his wrist and said he didn’t want to risk further injury.

But hold on. Is this the same guy that pulled off the Double McTwist 1260 even after he had the gold medal in the bag at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics?

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Shaun White competes in the Snowboard Men's Halfpipe on day six of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, Feb. 17, 2010, in Vancouver. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Is this the wunderkind snowboarder who was known far and wide for inventing crazy moves in the halfpipe and helping to pioneer a new style of adventurous snowboarding?

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Shaun White of the United States jumps in the halfpipe during training on day four of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, Feb. 15, 2010, in Vancouver. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Is this the same Flying Tomato?

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Shaun White does a practice run before the start of men's snowboard halfpipe qualifications for the US Snowboarding Grand Prix, Jan. 8, 2014, in Breckenridge, Colorado. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Apparently so. White told “Today” that he wanted to focus solely on the halfpipe at this year’s games, despite the attention the slopestyle event has garnered during its inaugural appearance in the Olympics.

“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 that case, go get ‘em in the halfpipe and bring home that gold, Flying Tomato.

 

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