On Thursday, Shaun White made an announcement that in the upcoming 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, he will not compete in the snowboard slopestyle event, instead focusing all of his efforts on the halfpipe competition.
“Slopestyle is just really not something I’m as interested in right now,” White told NBC Sports 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.”
As you may recall, Shaun White controversially withdrew from the slopestyle event just days prior to the competition at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. He said at the time that he wanted to focus on taking home a third straight Olympic gold in snowboard halfpipe, but ended up finishing fourth in the halfpipe event.
After the fourth-place finish, White said he was going to take a hiatus from competitive snowboarding to tour with his band, Bad Things, and reevaluate his career. The hiatus ended in December 2015, when White took first place in the Superpipe at Dew Tour.
He followed that up with another dominant first-place halfpipe performance at the 2016 Burton US Open, however never seemed to regain his slopestyle form: At the same US Open, in his first return to slopestyle since dropping out of the Sochi event, White finished dead last out of a field of 31 competitors.
“It was just a struggle,” White told NBC Sports of juggling both disciplines. “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 … It was just too much.”
White also announced that he would be returning to the Winter X Games for the first time since 2015 after it was reported that ESPN didn’t bring him to the 2016 Winter X Games due to disparaging comments he made about the company.