Michael Appelgate
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado

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January 25, 2013
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Bleiler drops out of 2013 X Games

ASPEN - Gretchen Bleiler, a four-time Winter X Games gold medalist, decided Wednesday evening to drop out of today's snowboard superpipe competition.

The Snowmass Village resident first announced her decision on Twitter midday Thursday and spoke Thursday night on ESPN about her decision.

Bleiler was due to compete despite shattering her eye socket during a trampoline session in June in Park City, Utah. It was a long journey back to being able to compete as the Snowmass Village resident struggled with double vision and vertigo resulting from surgery.

"Obviously a really tough decision for me," Bleiler told X Games host Ramona Bruland. "I love X Games; this is my hometown. I would love to just go out there and give everyone a good show.

"My vision is better, but I just need a little bit more time on snow. To compete at the X Games, this is the biggest stage. This is the best riding. You have the world's best athletes coming together, and you have to be in it 100 percent."

She told The Associated Press last week she wasn't planning any outlandish tricks and reserves the right to drop out at the last minute.

"From any traumatic injury, you're going to experience a lack of confidence," Bleiler told the AP. "There's a whole process you have to go through to break free of that."

Bleiler, 31, placed fourth in the superpipe last year and hasn't medaled since claiming gold in 2010. She said on Twitter that she is "Keeping a big picture perspective on Sochi."

If Bleiler qualifies for the Winter Olympics next year in Sochi, Russia, they would be her third of her career. She claimed silver in Turin, Italy, in 2006 and finished 11th in Vancouver, British Columbia, after falling on both runs in 2010.

"I'm excited about getting there, and I'm really getting close," Bleiler said.

mappelgate@aspentimes.com


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The Aspen Times Updated Jan 25, 2013 02:16AM Published Jan 25, 2013 02:15AM Copyright 2013 The Aspen Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.