The Summer X Games just got a little less appealing. After winning a gold in 2011, Shaun White will sit out of the exciting Los Angeles competition this year.
The news comes from Samantha Hill, White's publicist (via ESPN):
"Shaun has decided to sit out this year's X Games in Los Angeles," said Hill at WTK Public Relations. "This has been a lively year so far; he's now getting back on his skateboard and is excited for summer."
Lively indeed. After becoming the first snowboarder ever to score a perfect score in the SuperPipe this January at the Winter X Games, White has been busy in New York (or with Maxim's hottest woman alive, Bar Refaeli) and hasn't been able to prepare on the vert as much as he would have liked.
As a result, he's out of the Games. Let's take a closer look at what this means.
What it Means
Most importantly, it means a ratings drop for the Games. Shaun White is without a doubt the most popular snowboarder/skateboarder on the planet, and a lot of the people who tune in to watch do so just to see White.
He's been winning gold medals at the X Games since 2003, and it will be weird to see him not involved this year.
The Summer X Games have never been as popular as the Winter Games, and this is just going to hurt its popularity even more.
However, it does open up the competition for other skaters to make an impact.
Without White, who won gold last year on the vert, Pierre-Luc Gagnon is suddenly the clear favorite.
Nonetheless, according to ESPN, Gagnon won't be approaching the event any differently:
"I'm just focused on what I need to do to be on top of my own skateboarding. And right now, I feel great," he said. "I'm skating every day. I've got my tricks down. I'm just doing what I've been doing for the past 15 years."
There are plenty of other skaters to watch out for in White's best competition.
Bucky Lasek (yes, the 39-year-old is still a force in the skating world) finished third last year.
Andy Macdonald grabbed the bronze in 2009 and 2010 and has eight golds under his belt.
Mitchie Brusco, 15, Pedro Barros, 17, and Alex Perelson, 21, are all young upcoming stars.
Even Elliot Sloan and Adam Taylor, who finished in the top five last year, will have a major chance of grabbing a medal.
While Gagnon is the clear favorite, White's absence opens things up big time.