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Olympics • Shaun White's critics fail to medal in slopestyle

Published February 8, 2014 4:10 pm

Olympics • Still, his decision to not compete in slopestyle left one American athlete home
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Krasnaya Polyana, Russia • The two Canadian snowboarders who were most critical about Shaun White's decision to drop out of the slopestyle contest failed to make the podium on Saturday, when their discipline debuted on the Olympic stage at Russia's stout Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.

White dropped from the contest on Wednesday, saying he wanted to focus on halfpipe. Max Parrot, whose massive triple corks earned him the top qualifying position heading into Saturday's Olympic slopestyle finals, tweeted that White was "scared" to compete in the slopestyle contest. He deleted the tweet and apologized for any offence, but stood by his quote during Thursday's slopestyle qualifying, telling reporters that White had dropped out of other contests at the last minute too, like Aspen's X Games. Parrot won the X Games slopestyle and big air contests with huge triple corks, a trick that has challenged White as he battled through injuries to compete in both Olympic halfpipe and slopestyle.

"I'm just mad about that because I want to compete against him," Parrot told reporters at Thursday's qualifying. "I want to know who is better."

Sebastien Toutant, another triple-corking kingpin from Canada, tweeted Wednesday that White pulled out of the Olympic contest because "he thought he could not win," voicing a widespread sentiment that the notoriously competitive White withdrew from slopestyle after seeing his competitors throwing huge tricks in Russia's intimidating slopestyle course. Toutant also deleted his tweet and apologized.

On Thursday Toutant finished third in qualifying. He told reporters that "some American is probably … sitting at home angry" because White took their Olympic position on the slopestyle team and then dropped out of the competition. That rider, likely 18-year-old Brandon Davis of California, told Time magazine he was a little miffed.

"I should be there, but Shaun decided he didn't want to do it," Davis told Time. "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."

"I don't see why he wouldn't compete — it's perfect here," said Toutant, who finished ninth on Saturday's Olympic debut of slopestyle after bobbling landings on his triple corks. "A lot of people are feeling the same way but aren't saying it."