Make room for a new king of the superpipe at Aspen Winter X.
Shaun White announced over the weekend that he will not compete in the Winter X Games in Aspen this week to concentrate on preparing for the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
“So far, the plan is still not to attend (Aspen Winter) X,” White said in a report on the X Games website, operated by ESPN. “Especially considering how much work this has been to qualify for the Olympics. It’s that time of, what do I really want to work on before the Olympics, and you’ve only got one week to really crank it out.”
The website said the withdrawal is not yet official. Any updates would come Tuesday, according to ESPN.
White is the six-time defending gold medalist in the Winter X superpipe at Buttermilk. And he’s won eight superpipe golds total. Plus five slopestyle golds in Aspen.
But his X Games medal streak is likely to end in this Olympic year.
If he doesn’t compete in Aspen this week, this will mark the first Winter X Games without Shaun White since 1999.
The Flying Tomato made his Winter X Games debut in Aspen in 2000 at age 13 – the youngest Winter X competitor ever.
He became the youngest medalist ever at Aspen Winter X at the age of 15.
White clinched his Olympic spot in slopestyle Thursday with a dramatic comeback victory in the second of two events.
On the first, he had a vicious face-plant and was treated on course by medical personnel.
But White rallied later in the afternoon to win his Olympic berth.
He’s in a controlling position to qualify again on the halfpipe team in the final Olympic qualifier at Mammoth Mountain.
“I want to lock it up (today) and try to win another,” White said on the X Games website. “I’m just happy I could push through that crash.”
Recently, White made significant additions to his array of tricks.
He showcased a frontside double cork 1440 in an online video released by GoPro in December.
But it hasn’t been completed in competition yet.
White also added a trick that Iouri Padladtchikov first used at X Games Tignes (France) — a Cab double 1440 (aka the switch frontside double 14).
White told ESPN: “That’s the first time I’ve done (the cab double 1440) in a contest, let alone doing a double cork into it,” White said. “I’ve been waiting to break it out.”
The Winter X Games will start Wednesday evening at Buttermilk with elimination rounds of the men’s ski superpipe competition, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Aspen time.
The full selection of Winter X events is set for Thursday, including the snowmobile freestyle finals as well as elimination rounds of snowboard slopestyle and snowboard superpipe.
Friday will feature the men’s and women’s Boarder X finals as well as the women’s and men’s ski superpipe finals.
Events will continue Saturday and Sunday.
The latest schedule updates are available online at xgames.espn.go.com.