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Why Snowboarder Shaun White Pulled Out of Olympic Event in Sochi

Shaun White trying to negotiate dangerous slopestyle course
(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Last evening we learned of a huge breaking news story about the Winter Olympics.

Snowboarder Shaun White, considered the “face” of the sport in the U.S., has withdrawn from one of the early Winter Olympics events in Sochi, Russia, because the slopestyle course is too risky for him.

Before you pass judgement, as many have, consider that Torstein Horgmo, one of the world’s best, broke his collarbone after a crash in practice, three other boarders were injured in practice, and White himself tweaked his wrist on a takeoff.

Slopestyle is a newer Olympic event; it’s been compared to a skate park covered in snow.   

According to NPR:

The jumps on the Rosa Khutor extreme course were cut too big, causing the snowboards to drop too far on the landing. One boarder said it was like jumping out of a building.”

White called it “frustrating” and later admitted to NBC he wanted to concentrate on winning the half-pipe event. He said, “The potential risk of injury (on the slopestyle course) is a bit too much for me to gamble my other Olympic goals on.”

White also has a lot to factor into the risk catagory. He has a new clothing line, snowboard products, sunglasses and a new documentary about his Olympic preparation.

His departure is going to be a huge loss for the U.S. team in that event. This news of the potentially dangerous course is just the latest in a series of shocking examples of substandard infrastructure at Sochi.

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