Brandon Davis had some harsh words towards Shaun White's decision to back out of the slopestyle competition at the Olympics. This was a spot that Davis saw as his if White had bowed out of the event earlier. According to the Bleacher Report on Feb. 7, White needs to win Gold for the halfpipe event to "justify backing out of the slopestyle."
While White backed out of the slopestyle long after the deadline to put in a replacement, does this give Davis the liberty to throw disparaging words White's way? Did White slight Davis or is it the other way around? Is Davis forgetting how much White has brought to this sport and its popularity today has a lot to do with White?
White saw the slopestyle as dangerous, as two of his Olympic peers were hurt during training runs and White himself injured his wrist. An hour before White threw his hat in the ring he was talking with reporters and didn't even give a hint regarding his decision to take himself out of the slopestyle event.
The backlash from this decision is growing stronger today. Apparently White has a greater chance at the gold on the halfpipe than he did on the slopestyle. It seems as if his Canadian competitors were one of the first to bring this to his attention in Sochi. They "razzed" about his inability to finish in first place in the slopestyle, which some think may have played in White's decision.
The spot for the slopestyle event would most likely have gone to Brandon Davis if White had taken himself out earlier than he did. Davis had some less than sportsmen-like words towards White.
"I should be there, but Shaun decided he didn’t want to do it. It’s not a big deal for him. But for most people, the Olympics is a whole other level. It could have kicked started my career a bit, and gotten the ball rolling. But Shaun kind of dropped out like it’s nothing."
If White doesn't win the halfpipe event "he'll be looked at as one of the biggest disappointments of the Olympics," writes Alex Espinoza of the Bleacher Report. The safety concerns of the slopestyle course was something White pointed out, but many feel it was his fear of not being able to win the gold on this event that prompted him to drop out. White released an official statement when he made up his mind to take himself out of the event which included:
"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 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 part of."
It seems as if a gold medal in the halfpipe event might bring a sense of redemption to White in the media and with his peers. Many of the headlines reflect White's decision as self-serving, with the mindset that he did this only because he doesn't want to lose.
Fox News reported on Friday that a loss at the Olympics may put a big chunk in White's earning power in the advertising world. The gigs the Olympic winners get from the big companies come with paychecks that most people will take a lifetime to earn.
Winning a gold in the halfpipe might put White back in the good graces of the folks saying he was only thinking of himself with this decision. Brandon Davis might still find it hard to forget about the Olympic slot that he believes should of rightfully been his if White had no intention of going into the slopestyle event long before backing out.
White is a trail blazer in the sport of snowboarding and it's because of him and others like him that there is so much interest in the sport today. The Brandon Davis generation of snowboarders have much more to be thankful for when it comes to White than they've been expressing today.