Shaun White Bows Out of Slopestyle event, Too Much Risk

Snowboarding star Shaun White announced Wednesday he will not compete in the slopestyle event debuting in the Sochi games, citing the risk of injury associated with the course.

“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,” White told TODAY in a statement. “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 a part of. “

White’s announcement comes after he took a fall Tuesday and jammed his left wrist while on a practice run on the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park course. It’s the latest in a slew of small injuries the snowboarder has experienced.

“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.

While there is inherent dangers in a sport like slopestyle, in which competitors are judged on a variety of tricks they do on rails, boxes and jumps, White is among several snowboarders who’ve expressed concerns about Rosa Khutor Extreme Park. Criticism increased after Torstein Horgmo of Norway, considered a medal contender, fell off of a rail Monday and broke his collarbone — knocking him out of the Games.

Canada’s Sebastian Toutant said the course felt like “jumping out of a building,” and Finland’s Roope Tonteri told reporters that it was “pretty sketchy,” adding, “I just don’t want to get injured. It’s not a really fun course to ride.”

Changes were made to the course after feedback from riders on Monday — the combined height of all three of its jumps were reduced by about six feet. Snowboarders said the changes were an improvement.

“They put some wax on the rails, so it’s not as slick,” Toutant told the Globe and Mail. “And the jumps are still really high, but they made the transition to the jumps way smoother. I still think they could cut the jumps down a little bit, so it makes a smoother transition.”

But White and others still took falls. Tuesday, Finnish snowboarder Marika Enne crashed on the course’s final jump and was taken out on a stretcher after hitting her head.

White is now focusing all of his energy on the men’s halfpipe, and if he succeeds, he’ll make history as the first American man to win three Olympic gold medals in a single event.

Considering his friendship with snowboarder Kevin Pearce and what he watched him go through, we here think he made the right decision.

Flashback Friday! This Day in History

Welcome one and all to another edition of Flashback Friday, this day in history! So, what happened on February 4th?

February 4th was a day of “firsts” for sure. Let’s take a look:

February 4th, 1938, Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs was released in the theaters and at that time was the most successful movie in history.

On this day, February 4th, 1959, the Barbie doll was first introduced! She was created by Ruth Handler, one of the founding members of the Mattel Company and was named after her daughter….you guessed it, Barbie. Later on, when the male counterpart to Barbie was introduced, he was named after her son Ken. Does that seem strange to anyone else, considering Barbie and Ken’s illicit history?

The first Winter Olympics in the US was held on this day in history; February 4th, 1932, taking place in Lake Placid, NY.

February 4th, 1957, saw the first day of the sale of the Smith-Corona portable typewriters. The company had been in production for 71 years and produced the first upper and lower case typewriters.

On February 4th, 1974, Patty Hearst was abducted by the Symbionese Liberation Army, setting off a chain of events leading to that infamous bank robbery with Hearst, then known as Tanya, participating.

On this day, in 1997, a civil jury panel in Santa Monica, California, determined that OJ Simpson was guilty in the deaths of his ex-wife Nicole Brown-Simpson and Ron Goldman.

On February 4th, 2004, the state of Massachusetts high court determined it was legal for persons in same sex relationships could be married. Also on this day and year, Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook. Have you seen “The Social Network” yet?

That all happened today, February 4th, in history!