Shaun White withdraws from Olympic slopestyle

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia — Shaun White pulled out of the Olympic slopestyle contest Wednesday after being dinged up on a course that riders are criticizing as unduly harsh.

White issued a statement to the “Today” show, saying that after much deliberation, he has decided to forgo the new snowboarding event and concentrate on halfpipe, where he will try for his third straight gold medal next week.

White, who was among the favorites in the new Olympic event, jammed his left wrist during practice Tuesday and when he came off the slopestyle course. He called it “a little intimidating.”

Slopestyle is a speed-packed trip down the mountain, filled with rails, bumps and, most notably, steeply angled jumps that allow riders to flip two, sometimes three times, before landing.

The 27-year-old snowboarding star has been dealing with a number of nagging injuries during a winter in which he’s one of the few riders trying to compete in both events. The wrist added to a list that includes his shoulder and ankle, both injured during qualifying events for the U.S. team.

In the statement, he said, “the potential risk of injury is a bit too much for me to gamble my other Olympic goals on.”

But he will compete in the halfpipe, which is essentially a hollowed-out ice shell with 22-foot sidewalls. There is danger there, but unlike slopestyle, it’s based mostly on the types of tricks the riders try and not the setup of the pipe.