Shaun White has dominated the snowboard halfpipe at the previous two Olympic Games. Not this year though, as the New York Times reported on Feb. 11 that White will go home empty handed this time around.
White came to the Olympic Games in Sochi hoping to leave with two medals. One for the snowboard halfpipe and another for the slopestyle event.
Shaun White pulled out of the slopestyle event prior to qualifying. Unfortunately, his cancelled plans did not give the United States time to replace him. It has been reported that he chose not to compete after watching other snowboarders get hurt on the runs. He apparently had concerns over the safety of some of the snowboard runs in Sochi. Considering many of the other issues having been reported at this unfortunate location of the 2014 Winter Olympics, that is pretty believable.
Snowboarders complained about the quality of the halfpipe as well. They said the snow at the bottom of the run was too powdery and was causing snowboarders to fall. Just before the halfpipe event was to take place, Sochi organizers scrambled to smooth out and refreeze the surface. This was certainly not the best condition for an Olympic event. In any case though, most competitors were able to pull off their routines without a hitch. It was said the surface was bumpy but adequate. Certainly it wasn't the best that it could have been.
In the snowboard halfpipe where White has won two gold medals from 2006 and 2010, this time he fell short, literally. Shaun White fell twice during his first run in finals. The first fall was relatively minor but the second time he landed on his back at the top of the run.
Ultimately, Shaun White placed fourth in the snowboard halfpipe. A disappointing place for a world class snowboard champion.