Shaun White will not defend his gold medal in the skateboard vert at the 2012 X Games, and fans will be the biggest losers of his decision.
Keith Hamm of ESPN.com reported White’s decision. In the article, White’s publicist Samantha Hill stated, “Shaun has decided to sit out this year's X Games in Los Angeles. This has been a lively year so far; he's now getting back on his skateboard and is excited for summer."
White dominates on half-pipes of any form. He has won five consecutive gold medals at the Winter X Games on the superpipe, and has won gold twice at the skateboarding vert.
White had an extremely successful snowboarding season and scored the first perfect score in Winter X Games’ history to win the superpipe competition.
In recent years, he has battled Canadian skater Pierre-Luc Gagnon in epic battles on the vert. Gagnon had taken gold in three consecutive years from 2008-2010 before White edged him out in 2011.
Gagnon is a professional and he will carry on without a hitch. He said, in Hamm’s same article, "I'm just focused on what I need to do to be on top of my own skateboarding. And right now, I feel great skating every day. I've got my tricks down. I'm just doing what I've been doing for the past 15 years."
Gagnon will pay no attention to White’s absence, but the fans will be wishing the redhead had decided to attend the event.
White is one of the biggest stars in extreme sports and the competition between him and Gagnon fueled both skaters.
Without Gagnon’s dominance in previous years, White would never have been pushed towards this epic run that won him the gold medal.
White’s personality and talent have made him a big star and his fame has kept him busy. He certainly has plenty on his plate, but his decision to sit out the X Games will make the competition significantly less interesting.
His fans, and fans of skateboarding at the X Games, will be the ones to suffer the most from his decision.
Gagnon will likely cruise to gold at the vert, and spectators will be left wondering how exciting the competition could have been if White had been there.