Snowboarder smart to not risk injury and forgo slopestyle event

Column by Sarah O’Rourke

Sarah O'Rourke-w2000-h2000I’m sure you all know that the Winter Olympics are going on in Sochi, Russia, where the best athletes from countries all around the world compete.

These athletes have literally trained their entire lives to show everyone what they’ve got in just a few moments.

The Winter Olympics in Sochi are different from those in the past with regards to snowboarding.

A new snowboarding event called “slopestyle” was introduced, where athletes have the opportunity to throw out their best tricks while flying off of several jumps in a row.

Some athletes could not wait to compete in this new event while others, including professional snowboarder Shaun White, were left a little unsure.

After qualifying for the slopestyle event, Shaun White decided to pull out due to the high risk of injury. And can we really blame him?

Many athletes have already been injured from the event. Norwegian snowboarder Torstein Horgmo broke his collarbone from practicing the event, and other athletes have complained that the jumps were too steep.

Sure, White already risks injury by competing in the halfpipe event, but that is an event that he feels confident and comfortable doing. True athletes know when they are pushing themselves too far, and know when to take a break.

White is no exception. The 27-year-old has already survived two open-heart surgeries due to a congenital heart defect before he turned 1, and multiple injuries, including broken bones.

If he wants to pull out of an event, more power to him.

He has already proven himself by winning two Olympic gold medals, the highest number of medals for the X-Games and even 10 ESPY awards (Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Award).

White does not have much else to prove, so does it really matter if he wanted to pull out of an event?

Yet, the Canadians were blowing up the media because of White’s decision.

Snowboarder Sebastian Toutant tweeted that White was just looking for excuses and that he knew he couldn’t win the event.

Another Canadian snowboarder, Max Parrot, also tweeted that White was scared to compete. It’s frustrating how some athletes can be so cocky (ahem…the Canadian snowboarders) and think that they need to put down amazing athletes like Shaun White.

Sure, Olympic sports are extremely competitive, but there is definitely no need to talk badly about other athletes. If anything, it makes the Canadians look bad.

Although White has received plenty of negative feedback from dropping out of the slopestyle event, he still continued to show good sportsmanship by donating his snowboards from Sochi to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

I’m sure those snowboards could have been sold for a ton of money on eBay, so I respect him for donating them.

As I stated earlier, White has already proved that he is a fantastic snowboarder and choosing to drop out of an additional dangerous event does not change this.

True athletes know their limits, so there is no reason to criticize Shaun White for his decision.

O’Rourke is a first-year pharmacy major and can be reached at


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