Shaun White will not compete in Aspen
ASPEN, Colo. -- After a week of back-and-forth, Shaun White has confirmed he will not be competing in either Snowboard SuperPipe or Snowboard Slopestyle this week at X Games Aspen in order to focus on preparations for the Sochi Olympics next month in Russia.
"I've been competing in the X Games since I was 13 years old, they are a huge part of why I am where I am and they are vital to the sport. Unfortunately, when I arrived at the mountain and looked over the schedule, I knew I wasn't going to be able to complete the kind of training I know I need in order to prepare for Sochi," White said Wednesday after morning practice on the slopestyle course at Buttermilk Mountain. "It's an incredibly tough decision for me and it's not something I take lightly, especially as ESPN has always been a great supporter, but I have to make sure I'm prepared for the Olympics."
White battled ankle and shoulder injuries throughout the qualifying process to make the U.S. team for the Games and has taken hard falls in two competitions, but when he's at the top of his game, he's still nearly unbeatable. His slopestyle and halfpipe wins last weekend at the U.S. Grand Prix event at Mammoth Mountain, Calif., helped him secure his spots in both events in Sochi. He will head to Russia as the reigning back-to-back Olympic gold medalist and clear favorite in the halfpipe, and he will be the only American snowboarder also competing in the Olympic debut of slopestyle.
On Friday, White told XGames.com that his plan was to skip X Games to focus on Sochi. "It's that time of, what do I really want to work on before the Olympics and you've only got one week to really crank it out," White had said. On Tuesday, he said he was back in after all; by Wednesday he was out again.
Many of his peers headed to Sochi from the U.S. snowboarding and freeskiing teams have made a different call, saying they see X Games as an ideal training ground to perfect their runs.