Trevor Brown, Jr./ESPNShaun White appeared at the Winter X Games 2012 press conference in Aspen on Wednesday.
Shaun White sprained his left ankle Thursday, aggravating a pre-existing injury, and was treated by X Games medical staff during practice for the Men’s Snowboard SuperPipe event at Winter X Games Aspen 2012.
White is scheduled to compete in the Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle elimination round on Friday morning and the Men’s Snowboard SuperPipe elimination round Friday night. X Games medical staff called the injury a “mild sprain” and reports that he has been cleared to ride and is still planning to compete in both events.
White is going for a five-peat in the SuperPipe competition — he’s won the competition every year since 2008 — and is hoping to add to an X Games medal collection that now includes 11 gold medals and 16 medals total, the most of any competitor in the Winter X Games.
He’s also hoping to return to the podium in Slopestyle, an event he dominated from 2003-06 and won again in 2009 before taking a year off to focus on halfpipe training in the lead-up to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, where he won his second Olympic gold medal.
One year can be a long time in the span of snowboarding progression: White finished a disappointing 13th place in last year’s Winter X Games Slopestyle competition and was left watching from the sidelines as rookie Sebastian Toutant topped the podium.
White’s injury could open an opportunity to see more new faces on the podium in both competitions. Then again, White’s not known for letting much of anything hold him back.
Colin Bane is a freelance writer for ESPN Action Sports and XGames.com.