Dew Tour iON Mountain Championships â Mens Slopestyle Finals

Will Canada sweep the medals in slopestyle at Sochi? It almost did in the first slopestyle event of the qualifying season, when Mark McMorris, center, won, Maxence Parrot, left, took third, and Sebastien Toutant finished fourth. Sven Thorgren, right, was second. Photo by Gabe L’Heureux/Getty Images

The storyline for slopestyle snowboarding, making its debut at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, has evolved to the point where there is now talk of a potential sweep of the medals by the Canadian riders.

No doubt they'd prefer talk about a sweep to talk about their tweets.

As you know, Shaun White, the biggest slopestyle topic coming into Sochi, called the now-tweaked course "intimidating" and bowed out of the competition to concentrate on winning his third straight halfpipe Olympic gold.

The reaction from Canadian slopestyle riders Max Parrot and Sebastien Toutant was swift.

"Shaun knows he won't be able to win the slopes, that's why he pulled out," Parrot tweeted. "He's scared!"

"Mr. White…It's easy to find excuses to pull out of a contest when you think you can't win," Toutant tweeted.

Maxence Parrot of Canada produced the highest score in his slopestyle qualifying heat at Sochi. Photo by Chris Wellhausen/TransWorld SNOWboarding

Max Parrot, of Canada, produced the highest score in his slopestyle qualifying heat at Sochi. Photo by Chris Wellhausen/TransWorld SNOWboarding

On Thursday, neither backed down from what they tweeted, though both had already deleted the tweets.

The genesis of the comments was the riders’ disappointment over White not being in the competition, essentially worrying that an asterisk will be attached to the gold-medal winner.

"Even if I get the gold, which I don't know that I'm going to get, but if I get it people will maybe say Shaun White could have beat you," said Parrot, adding that he knows he has the skills to beat White.

"But the whole world doesn't know that and that's why I wanted to prove that here."

Toutant had this to say: "All I was saying was just that he decided a couple of months ago that he was going to do slopestyle and halfpipe and he knew that there was going to be risk here and a lot of risk in the pipe. And to take an American spot, to just not do it, I think it's bad. One other guy could have been here competing right now."

Teammate Mark McMorris was a bit more understanding. He didn't tweet any inflammatory response, but said at the press conference, "I'm sure it wasn't what [White] necessarily wanted to do. He spent almost four years practicing and working his butt off to get here. I don't think it was an easy decision at all."

McMorris, who for months had been considered the favorite to win gold, first must qualify in the semifinals Saturday morning to even give Canada a chance to sweep the podium.

He missed automatic qualification due to what many considered flawed judging, which has become another storyline.

Canada's freestyle coach, Leo Addington, sounded as if a Canadian sweep of the medals is a "super" possibility.

At a press conference, he described his top three riders.

He said Parrot, the event's top scorer in the qualifier and fresh off his X Games Aspen 2014 victory, is "super-focused" and "super-competitive," and that Toutant is "super-competitive," "a super-solid rider," and "super-easy" to work with, and that McMorris is "super-positive."

Snowboard - Winter Olympics Day -1

Sebastien Toutant of Canada automatically qualified for finals of slopestyle in Sochi. Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

McMorris, who is nursing a rib injury from the X Games in January, wasn't sounding too positive after failing in the first qualifier, however.

"I'm hurting mentally more than anything right now," he said.

It should be noted that in mid-December at Breckenridge, Colorado, Sven Thorgren of Sweden prevented a podium sweep by the Canadians at the first slopestyle competition of the qualifying season. McMorris took gold, Parrot won bronze, and Toutant finished fourth.

With White and Norway's Torstein Horgmo (broken collarbone during Sochi practice) out of the competition, the Canadians' chances of sweeping are improved. But they still have Thorgren and Ståle Sandbech (NOR), and, assuming they qualify, Seppe Smits (BEL), Chas Guldemond (USA), and Sage Kotsenburg (USA) to contend with.

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