Shaun White of USA attends a press conference of the US snowboard team at Gorki media center in Krasnaya Polyana near Sochi, Russia, 05 February 2014. The Sochi 2014 Olympic Games run from 07 to 23 February 2014. Photo by: Michael Kappeler/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images
Olympic gold medalist Shaun White will not compete in the slopestyle event in the 2014 Winter Olympics.
The snowboard champion from Carlsbad, Calif. injured his wrist while practicing runs on the new course in Sochi, Russia Tuesday.
White made the decision Wednesday.
“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 said in a statement, according to TODAY. “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.”
The U.S. Olympic Committee issued a statement in support of White's decision.
“Shaun is a professional and certainly knows what’s best for his performance. We support the athletic decisions of our athletes and look forward to watching the entire U.S. team perform,” said Team USA spokesperson Patrick Sandusky.
Fans reacted on social media with one person even comparing White's decision to that of Usain Bolt pulling out of a track and field competition.
Even another, a fellow professional snowboarder, claims White's decision was prompted by a belief that he can't secure the gold in the event.
"Mr. White... It's easy to find excuses to pull out of a contest when you think you can't win," the post from Sebastien Toutant reads.
The slopestyle event is a fast ride in which competitors flip twice, possible three times on jumps along a course filled with rails and bumps.
On Monday, Torstein Horgmo of Norway, broke his collarbone during practice.
On Tuesday, Finnish rider Marika Enne suffered a concussion.
While many riders felt the dangers of the new course were being overblown, even White said the riders have been meeting with organizers and providing feedback on changes deemed necessary.
One American snowboarder still in the mix for the slopestyle competition is Chas Guldemond who trained with the staff and athletes at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista.
Read more on NBCOlympics.com.
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