Shaun White’s decision to pull out of the slopestyle snowboarding event at the Winter Olympics angered some of his fellow competitors who felt the move was premeditated because the two-time Olympic gold medalist was afraid to lose.
If White did indeed decide to pull out of the event before arriving in Sochi, he may have screwed a 15-year-old out of a chance to compete in the Olympics as the United States Olympic Committee could not replace White on the roster.
If White had pulled out sooner, the USOC could have given the spot to the snowboarder that finished fifth during qualifying, 15-year-old Kyle Mack, who is not happy. Mack took to Twitter to express his frustration, saying “love how shaun drops out of the Olympics. That could have been my spot.”
However, Mack was no guarantee to be the alternate according to Sean Gregory of Time.com. Mack may not have accumulated enough points in international competitions to be eligible for the Olympics.
In that case, White’s spot could have gone to sixth-place finisher, 18-year-old Brandon Davis. Like Mack, Davis is not happy with White.
“It just kind of sucks,” Davis told Time.com. “I should be there, but Shaun decided he didn’t want to do it…It’s not a big deal for him. But for most people, the Olympics is a whole other level. It could have kicked started my career a bit, and gotten the ball rolling.”
Of course, the riders were only screwed if White did indeed drop out because he was afraid to lose and Alyssa Roenigk of ESPN.com provided an anecdote suggesting it was:
“It was surprising news nonetheless. I remember White once telling me his favourite thing is to show up to a halfpipe or slopestyle competition when the weather is bad, or the pipe is cut poorly, or everyone is complaining about the course — because that’s when he shines. Everyone has to ride the same course and drop into the same pipe, and he knows he is the best rider on any day, no matter the conditions. He said he smiles knowing he is in a better place mentally than everyone else. In his mind, in those moments, he has already won.”
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