Action sports mega-star Shaun White has decided to skip the summer X Games, which begin next week in Los Angeles, presumably because he has been too busy to focus on skateboarding.
A precise reason was not given by White or his publicist, but the red-haired champion of last year’s X Games’ vert competition has been spending lots of time in New York and was even spotted recently with Bar Rafaeli, Maxim’s “hottest woman in the world,” dancing and smooching in a SoHo club.
Besides that, Nate Hoppes of GrindTv points out that White has been preoccupied with several business ventures, including his Target clothing line and his Shaun White Supply Co. product line.
Though White is a major draw at the summer X Games, it’s no secret that he takes snowboarding far more seriously, in part because snowboarding is an Olympic sport and White is the greatest superpipe rider on the planet.
White, who has dominated the sport at the Winter X Games, earned Olympic gold medals in superpipe in 2006 and 2010. At the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, he’ll try for a third and also attempt to strike gold in Slopestyle as that discipline makes its Olympics debut.
With White out of the X Games, his greatest rival in the vert tamp, Pierre-Luc Gagnon, will be heavily favored to win the gold medal.
Gagnon is quoted in USA Today as saying, “I definitely had a feeling that [the X Games] didn’t seem like his main priority, and he’s not the kind of guy to show up and wing it. He had a great snowboard season and now maybe he just wants to take it easy, enjoy life.”
– Top image is courtesy of Vianneey Tisseau / ESPN. Bottom image shows White in a winning performance at last year’s summer X Games