Shaun White
Getty Images

Shaun White drops slopestyle, adds Winter X Games, continues Air + Style

Leave a comment

Shaun White plans to qualify in one event, not two, for the 2018 Winter Olympics.

The 2006 and 2010 Olympic halfpipe champion has dropped slopestyle from his repertoire and doesn’t think he’ll re-add it before the Winter Games in PyeongChang, which start in 400 days.

Remember, White tried to compete in both halfpipe and slopestyle at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. He withdrew from slopestyle on the eve of the Games and then finished fourth in halfpipe.

White competed in one slopestyle contest since Sochi, on March 4, and finished last.

“Slopestyle is just really not something I’m as interested in right now,” White said Thursday. “At the Olympics last time around, trying to do slope and halfpipe was, now looking back, I feel like one of the reasons why things maybe didn’t go as well for either. It’s hard to do both.

“It was just a struggle. I was learning, like, one trick in the slopestyle, then panicking and going over to the halfpipe and trying to learn a trick there. And then forgetting the trick I just learned on the [slopestyle] jumps. So I had to go back. It was just too much. I’m thinking, for me, and everything right now, what I want to do for my career to compete in all these things, slopestyle just doesn’t make sense.”

Also Thursday, White said he will return to the Winter X Games later this month, after controversially missing last year’s event.

“There was just, I don’t what you’d call it, maybe a miscommunication [last year],” White said, laughing. “We both realized it’s a contest, and the world’s best will be there, and I want to compete. That’s kind of all there is to it.”

It’s part of a busy season for White, who again will put on an Air + Style event in his native Los Angeles.

This year’s festival, set to include 30 snowboarders from 12 countries in addition to musical acts, is Feb. 18-19 at the LA Memorial Coliseum, site of the 1932 and 1984 Olympic Opening and Closing Ceremonies.

More Air + Style information is available here.

White doesn’t compete at Air + Style, but his contest schedule this winter also includes World Cup events in Mammoth Mountain, Calif., and at the South Korean Olympic venue in February, plus the U.S. Open in March.

It will be his busiest season since Sochi. White’s band has broken up, opening up time to focus on the sport (as well as lessons for piano and singing).

White has already competed once this season, but it was not memorable. He shockingly failed to make the final of the U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain on Dec. 15.

There’s a good reason for that. White was coming off surgery.

In October, White was training in New Zealand when his troublesome left ankle started acting up. White has dealt with ankle problems since 2009 and decided to undergo surgery to make sure it wouldn’t hinder him on the road to PyeongChang.

He said he used Copper as a “test run” for his ankle, and with heavy snowfall and poor conditions, didn’t want to take any unnecessary risk.

White hopes 2018 will not mark his final Olympics. He wants to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games, since skateboarding is being added to that Olympic program. White won X Games vert titles in 2007 and 2011, but the 2020 Olympic format is a combination of park and street.

VIDEO: 15-year-old Shaun White just misses 2002 Olympics

Sage Kotsenburg still ‘on the fence’ about 2018 Olympics

SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 08:  Sage Kotsenburg of the United States reacts after his run during the Snowboard Men's Slopestyle Final during day 1 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park on February 8, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Olympics are in 14 months, and Sage Kotsenburg remains undecided about defending his slopestyle title.

“I’m definitely on the fence,” Kotsenburg said, according to a Salt Lake Tribune article published Friday, “but right now, I’m definitely more focused on filming.”

Kotsenburg has traveled the world since his surprise Sochi gold, taking his snowboard to film movies. He even declined an invitation to the 2014 Academy Awards to ride in Switzerland, according to the report.

It appears Kotsenburg has been non-committal about the Pyeongchang Winter Games since at least June, when a Snowboarder Magazine article quoted him saying he was going “back and forth” but leaning toward trying to make the U.S. team.

Kotsenburg, 23, struggled at the Winter X Games the last two seasons after his Sochi breakout. He finished fifth and 10th in slopestyle and seventh in big air, similar to his X Games results before his surprise Olympic title.

Kotsenburg is also coming off suffering a concussion at Fenway Park training for a big air event in February.

The first of five U.S. Olympic qualifying events for snowboard slopestyle is in February at Mammoth Mountain, Calif. The other four are expected to be contested next season.

If Olympic team selection is the same as 2014, Kotsenburg could skip the first qualifier and still make the team if he performs well next year. The U.S. had four men’s slopestyle snowboarders on its team for Sochi, when the event made its Olympic debut.

MORE: Kaitlyn Farrington not staying grounded after early retirement

Time’s Most Influential Teens include 4 Olympians, one Pyeongchang hopeful

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 15:  Simone Biles (L) and Lauren Hernandez (R) of the United States wait for the final result of the balance beam final on day 10 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Rio Olympic Arena on August 15, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Rio Olympic champions Simone BilesKatie Ledecky and Laurie Hernandez plus Refugee Olympic team swimmer Yusra Mardini made Time magazine’s list — The 30 Most Influential Teens of 2016.

Chloe Kim, a 16-year-old U.S. snowboarder eyeing the Pyeongchang Olympics, also made the list.

Kim and Ledecky also made the 2015 list, along with New Zealand Olympic golfer Lydia Ko.

In Rio, Biles became the first female gymnast to earn four golds at a single Games since 1984. Ledecky became the second swimmer to sweep the 200m, 400m and 800m freestyles at a single Olympics. Hernandez earned gymnastics team gold and balance beam bronze two months after turning 16.

Mardini, an 18-year-old Syrian refugee, swam in Rio about one year after swimming for her life for three hours in the Aegean Sea while fleeing Damascus for Europe. She was one of 10 athletes on the Refugee Olympic team.

In 2016, Kim repeated as X Games halfpipe champion, swept the Youth Olympic halfpipe and slopestyle titles and landed back-to-back 1080s to become the first woman to score a perfect 100 in a top-level contest.

MORE: Watch Biles star in Jake Miller music video