SOCHI, Russia (NBCNC) — Shaun White has announced that he’s pulling out of the Snowboard Slopestyle Competition at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi.
In a statement to NBC News, White said the decision came in an effort to focus on bringing home a third straight Gold medal in the half-pipe event.
White didn’t mention his decision at a half-pipe press conference earlier Wednesday, but he did speak about the Slopestyle course, which has been called dangerous by other competitors.
“Definitely concerns about the course,” said two-time Olympic Gold medalist. “It’s been interesting to see how it’s developed and changed over the past few days. And the big question is if it will continue to change, because every day they have a riders meeting, they get feedback. Sometimes there’s changes, sometimes there’s not.”
White also spoke about how he’s feeling and the status of his wrist.
“I’m feeling healthy. I think it was blown out of proportion, a little bit, about my wrist the other day in the slope course,” he said. “I definitely jammed it, but it’s something in snowboarding. You get bumps and bruises all the time. It was the ankle, it was the shoulder; it’s all these things. But they kind of come and go. It was nice it wasn’t something serious.”
As for his new haircut: “I may have lost a little bit of hair, but I’m still the same guy. I definitely take things a bit more seriously nowadays just because I feel like I’m getting older and that just happens when you get older. You think more, which is something when you’re younger you don’t really think about it. You got long, red hair and you just do your jumps and tricks. You don’t really think about things.”
So why did he cut his hair?
“I think it was more of a rebel thing to cut the hair, because everyone said that I couldn’t, so I did it anyway,” he said. “That’s kind of how I wanted to perceive myself in the media and things, is that I do the things I want to do and I still approach the competitions and things in the same way.”
Meanwhile, the Men’s Halfpipe Medal Round happens Feb. 11.