He will "focus solely on trying to bring home the third straight gold medal in halfpipe for Team USA"

By Stephen M. Silverman
February 05, 2014 07:40 AM
Credit: Harry How/Getty

Olympic snowboarding star Shaun White has announced that he is bowing out of the slopestyle event at the Sochi games, citing the risk.

“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,” the “Flying Tomato,” 27, said in an exclusive statement on Wednesday’s Today show.

“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.”

On Tuesday, White jammed his left wrist after a fall during a practice run on the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park course. Last month, he wiped out during an Olympic qualifier. “I haven’t taken a hit like that in a long time,” he said after the scary crash at Mammoth Mountain, Calif.

As NBC reports, White and other snowboarders have expressed concerns about Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, especially after Norway’s medal contender Torstein Horgmo broke his collarbone Monday when he fell off of a rail. He is now out of the Olympics.

“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 Wednesday morning.

Also noted: Should White succeed at the men’s halfpipe, he’ll make history as the first American man to win three Olympic gold medals in a single event.