After a bit of waffling, snowboarder Shaun White announced Wednesday that he is indeed pulling out of the 2014 Winter X Games in order to rest up for next month’s Winter Olympics in Sochi.
White, the six-time defending X Games Superpipe gold medalist, is aiming for this third consecutive gold in Olympic men’s halfpipe.
The 27-year-old initially announced last week that he would be forgoing the X Games, which are set to begin Thursday in Aspen. White then changed his mind, however, telling ESPN.com on Tuesday that he will use the competition as practice for the Olympics.
“It’s a tough balance,” he said. “I really want to get a lot of practice in before the Olympics but I am also much more motivated to give my best run in a competition and I’m excited to go out and do that at X Games.”
But after arriving in Aspen, White, who crashed hard during a slopestyle trail run last Thursday, evidently had a change of heart.
“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 told ESPN.com on Wednesday. “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, the most decorated athlete in Winter X Games history, will compete in two events in Sochi: halfpipe and snowboard slopestyle, which is making its Olympic debut.
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