Shaun White may be an 11-time Winter X Games champion, but his performance in the Slopestyle competition last year, combined with his ankle injury on Thursday, should have him worried.
When White took a year off from the Slopestyle event in 2010, he appeared to regress when he came back in 2011, finishing in 13th place and seeing rookie Sebastian Toutant take home the gold medal.
On Thursday on a practice run, White suffered a "mild sprain," per ESPN. That is just going to make his life more difficult in the Slopestyle on Friday morning.
When you take a year off, it's only natural to lose a little bit of your thunder. White won the gold medal from 2003-2006 and in 2009, but he clearly looked off in 2011.
An ankle injury, even if it's mild, is significant in a competition like Slopestyle. I don't expect a competitor like White to exactly ease up on the gas pedal, but it's certainly going to be difficult for him to be at 100 percent. He already had a lot to overcome on Friday as it was. With him not being completely healthy, I find it hard for him to win the gold.
This, of course, should open up the competition to new faces, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. There are plenty of snowboarders out there who have been excellent throughout the years only to be overshadowed by stars like White.
White will compete as usual and I could still see him winning a medal, but Thursday's injury, especially a day before the event, will prove to be too costly in the end.