Gay rights issues, toothpaste terrorism and undrinkable water in reporter hotel rooms tarnish the beginning image of the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi. Thus Russia's welcome mat is anything but rolled out and welcoming to hear some tell it, according to Fox News. And that includes athlete Shaun White from the U.S., who has already withdrawn from competition, according to ESPN on Feb. 5.
But it is an amazing feat to see the way the rugged landscape in the country has underwent billions of dollars of transformation almost overnight, with some arenas bringing on the accolades for their unique style, color and architecture. And the way the Caucasus Mountains have been reduced in some spots to accommodate the winter Olympics is almost unimaginable, with backdrops emphasizing what lay there before Russia's effort.
Yet when one considers that Russia knew since 2007 that they would be hosting the 2014 event, the quickly put up hotels, which lack even the basic amenities (such as light bulbs, working phones or flushing tissue paper in reporter hotel rooms) may indicate--if other world guests have it much differently--that Vladimir Putin is not rolling out the red carpet for reporters who give him a hard time.
All in all, the landscape in Russia for the 2014 Sochi Olympics is breathtaking for the most part. And one can't help but wonder at the power it took to level some of the Caucasus Mountains, even if they did have seven years to do it. And it is that feeling of power that can be intimidating, as Shaun White appears to have emphasized when he withdrew after his wrist injury, mentioning concerns about the slopestyle course.
There are definitely concerns about the course," White said, adding that, "It's been interesting to see how it has developed and changed over the past few days, and the question is if it will continue to change."
White didn't get the chance to say what he found so disagreeable about the slopestyle course in Sochi, as he was actually being interviewed about that problem at a press conference meant to discuss the halfpipe course instead. But the fact that this particular U.S. athlete is reluctant to take on a Caucasus Mountain slopestyle event is noteworthy, especially since it would be the first-ever such Olympic competition for snowboarders.
White will still compete in the land faraway and larger than life. He's going to try and make this his third win in the halfpipe competition. And he explains his decision this way, according to the Seattle Times:
...the potential risk for injury is a bit too much for me to gamble my other Olympic goals on."
And with the breathtaking natural scenes surrounding the courses he would have had to compete on it is understandable why this two-time winner might be intimidated by the Sochi slopestyle course. Hopefully there will be no serious injuries incurred when this particular Olympic competition occurs this month. But with White bowing out of the event, all eyes will be on whomever wins it. And that could change the course of the landscape for future Olympics and snowboarding.