By Philip O’Connor
ROSA KHUTOR, Russia (Reuters) – American Olympic snowboarding champion Shaun White hopes both he and the halfpipe snow will be in better shape when he goes for a third straight gold medal at the Sochi Games on Tuesday.
Official training for the event was postponed on Monday as warm weather turned packed snow to slush and left organizers struggling to get the pipe in top shape for Tuesday’s men’s competition.
“It’s a little disappointing, it’s hard to get in there and have all the tricks and have everything that you need and not to be able to get to the wall,” the American told reporters, admitting he had a “pretty terrible” practice.
White had already pulled out of Saturday’s slopestyle at these Sochi Games because he felt the course was too dangerous.
SPECIAL SECTION: 2014 Winter Olympics
His team mate Danny Davis described Monday’s conditions as “garbage” and several other riders expressed frustration during halfpipe practice.
White admitted it had not been just the pipe that was to blame for his poor form on the day.
“Today it seemed as if I was taking off where everyone was landing and it created this hole,” he said. “I was just getting caught in this hole, so I’m hoping to get over the hole and feel better. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day.
“I just had a frustrating practice.”
White lauded the decision to postpone and then shorten Monday’s practice in order to ensure the best possible conditions for Tuesday’s men’s contest.
“Today they had a smart decision where they shortened practice, the more chewed the pipe gets the worse it is to reshape it for the next day,” he said.
“They’re talking about shortening practice for tomorrow which would help dramatically, the less traffic through the pipe the longer it will hold up.”
White has won the last two Olympic gold medals in halfpipe, in Turin in 2006 and four years later in Vancouver.
(Editing by Mark Meadows; firstname.lastname@example.org)