White was embroiled in a social media storm after he denounced
the slopestyle course as dangerous and withdrew from the slopestyle
to focus on the defense of his halfpipe title, which he won at the
previous two Winter Olympics.
Several of White's competitors took to Facebook and Twitter to poke
fun at him for quitting the daredevil event, suggesting that he only
threw in the towel because he was scared of losing.
"I'm really happy with my decision," the Californian told reporters
after training at the halfpipe on Saturday.
"I have bumps and bruises over the course of the season that I
haven't had before."
While White was rehearsing some of the moves he hopes will land him
a third successive gold medal in the halfpipe, his countryman
Kotsenburg won the slopestyle gold with a fearless run down the
intimidating obstacle course.
White is the overwhelming favorite to win the halfpipe but knows
the pressure on him to succeed will only intensify after he quit the
slopestyle, one of the new and contemporary events on the Olympic
"I feel pressure all the time. I'm trying not to think about it too
much," he said.
"It's not more pressure than I put on myself. I expect the best out
of myself, always."
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While critical of the slopestyle course after he fell in training,
White was more complimentary about the halfpipe although he agreed
with some of his rivals that it was slightly steeper than normal.
"The pipe is interesting. It has the potential to be amazing," he
"There were some first-day jitters — not for me, but for the pipe.
This new snow turns into a sandy consistency but texturized.
"It has a little too much vert, but that's an easy fix, it's better
that it's over than under. Under's not good. I'm happy. I think it's
going to be great."
Already one of the most successful and recognizable names in Winter
sports, White has promised something special for Sochi.
In December, he released a tantalizing video of one of his new
stunts — a frontside double-cork 1,440 — in which he rotates four
times while doing two front flips.
He performed it in competition last month and has hinted that he may
unleash the mind-boggling move in Russia.
"There's always pressure and that's what motivates me to do bigger
tricks and better tricks," he said.
(Reporting by Julian Linden; editing by Ed Osmond)
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