Winter X Games 2012: Shaun White's Injury Hinders His Olympic Hopes

Josh Martin@@JoshMartinNBANBA Lead WriterJanuary 27, 2012

ASPEN, CO - JANUARY 25:  Shaun White of Carlsbad, California takes the podium to receive the gold medal in the Men's Snowboard Superpipe Final at Winter X Games 13 on Buttermilk Mountain on January 25, 2009 in Aspen, Colorado. White became the first to earn back to back Men's Snowboard Superpipe gold medals.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

What's eating Shaun White, you ask?

A left ankle sprain, to be precise, one that's putting a damper on his showing at the 2012 Winter X Games and may yet leave him behind schedule as he looks ahead to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

White deemed himself unfit to run in the men's snowboard slopestyle after testing his bum ankle on Friday during practice runs. The injury cropped up on him on Thursday and has hardly improved in the short time since.

The five-time slopestyle gold medalist had hoped to come out on top in the event after missing out on medals the last two years. White skipped the Slopestyle in 2010 to focus on the halfpipe ahead of the Vancouver Games and finished 13th in the running last year.

White arrived in Aspen with high hopes for the slopestyle, looking to regain his mojo in the trick-based competition ahead of the Sochi Games two years from now, when and where the slopestyle will make its debut as an Olympic event.

Of course, for an extreme athlete like White, X Games glory remains the ultimate goal, thereby rendering White's inability to run in the Slopestyle a tremendous disappointment, even (and, perhaps, especially) for the man who owns the all-time record for X Games medals.

Along with two Olympic golds, for good measure.

Not all is lost, though. White still hopes to be ready in time for Sunday's superpipe, an event that he's dominated to the tune of four gold medals in his last four trips to Aspen.

As for White's Olympic aspirations, Russia will just have to wait. The only podium with which White need concern himself is the one at the X Games.